Understanding HCI

Artefact Collection

What is Artefact Collection?

Artefacts - in HCI jargon, things used, processed or created in an activity

Why Use it?

Artefacts illustrate aspects such as

  1. what information must be processed
  2. how it is currently organised
  3. what’s important
  4. what instructions are needed
  5. subtle aspects of activities


  1. Deigning a medical system - Medical notes - instant clues as to the length of the patient’s history, how many different doctors have been involved, whether last consultant in a hurry…
  2. Designing any computer system - Post-it notes with instructions stuck to machines and PCs - what’s difficult to understand or remember
  3. Updating any computer system - Records of help requests, bug reports, change requests
  4. Designing an extranet system to facilitate engineers working together across different sites - engineer’s ‘day book’ and blueprints of the design
  5. A‘home organiser’ application - photos of calendar, answering machine tapes, notes stuck on fridge door, public information leaflet about the benefit