An application of the 5-S activity theoretic requirements method



Publication Details

Brown, R.B.K., Hyland, P., & Piper, I. C. (2006). An application of the 5-S activity theoretic requirements method. In J. Filipe, B. Shishkov & M. Helfert (Eds.), ICSOFT 2006: First International Conference on Software and Data Technologies - Proceedings (pp. 151-158). Portugal: Institute for Systems & Technologies of Information, Control and Communication (INSTICC) Press.


One of the most crucial aspects of highly interactive, multi-user, organisational systems is the interface. The Human Computer Interaction (HCI) community has not adopted rigorous Formal Methods with open arms (Paterno, 1996). However, the HCI community has widely adopted Usability Engineering approaches (Corporate Solutions 2006), such as Nielsen’s (1994), which offers considerable formality. There remains, however, scope for user interface (UI) design to adopt a theoretical framework to enhance consistency across the whole design and development lifecycle. A theoretically-consistent framework from initial conceptual elicitation to evaluation of the finished product may prove useful. Since the aim of UI design is to produce interfaces that assist users to carry out their day-to-day activities, particularly in an organisational setting, a psychological and sociological theory could be a serious candidate for the informing theoretical framework. We suggest that Activity Theory (AT) would be a useful framework and could serve as the basis for an endto- end system analysis and design method for highly interactive, multi-user systems. In this paper, we present an AT-based analysis and design method (called the 5-S Method) and a preliminary test example, used to test the method and explore the suitability of AT.