One of the most prolific and, arguably, successful developments in and applications of HCI theory
has been conceptual frameworks, derived from an imported theory (or set of theories), the syn-
thesis of empirical research (ethnographic, experimental and case study), design practice or a set
of assumptions about the structure and/or function of phenomena. Unlike the design implications
approach, whose value has been questioned by researchers, the conceptual frameworks approach has
been received favorably in the HCI community. Frameworks often are the driving force that run
through a research project, being the accumulation of a body of theorizing and empirical work, and
which are illustrated by cases studies showing how they have been generalized and applied.
Conceptual frame works can vary along a continuum of prescription-explanation: the more
prescriptive a framework the more likely it will consist of a series of steps or principles to be followed.
The more explanatory a framework, the more likely it will consist of a set of concepts or dimensions
to be considered. Benford et al. (2009) propose a number of ways conceptual frameworks can be used
from their research, including compiling and analyzing the extensive craft knowledge that already
exists among artists and other designers, and helping technology researchers and developers identify
requirements for new tools and platforms to support the development and orchestration of future
user experiences. Evidence of the success of conceptual frameworks can be counted in the repor ting
by others of having used them in different projects, and ideally case studies of them being used in
practice. The latter are less forthcoming, as practitioners have to eke out a living from consulting
and often do not have the time or funding to publish their work (but see the set of c ase studies at
id-book.com). There are, however, a number of frameworks that have been well cited in the liter-
ature, for example, Bellotti and Edwards (2001) context-aware framework, outlining principles of
intelligibility and accountability; Bellotti et al.’s (2002) making sense of sensing systems framework
explicating challenges, design issues and problems; Benford et al.’s (2009) interactional trajectories,
which is a sensitizing framework for understanding cultural experiences, in museums, mixed reality
games, etc., as journeys through hybrid structures, punctuated by transitions, and in which interac-
tivity and collaboration are orchestrated; and Gaver et al.’s (2003) ambiguity framework, comprising
a set of tactics for designing ambiguous representations, artifacts and situations aimed at getting
people to interpret them differently. Interestingly, these frameworks have been largely prescriptive
in their design advice, suggesting what to do (or not to do) for example, Benford et al. (2005)
recommend that designers identify all known limitations of the sensing technologies, by considering
range, speed, accuracy and stability of sensing.”
Rogers and Muller’s (2006) framework of sensor-based interactions was meant more as an
articulatory device helping to define and shape user experiences. Instead of being prescriptive, it
conceptualizes a number of core dimensions of sensors together with aspects of the user experience
that are considered important to take into account when designing sensor-based interactions. The
framework is intended to help designers, interested in developing innovative playful learning expe-
riences that use sensor-based interaction (as opposed to GUI interaction) but arent sure about how
to put them to novel and innovative effect. There are many possibilities available to designers when

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