Festschrift Introduction


Alistair Sutcliffe

Manchester Business School, Booth Street West, Manchester M15 6PB, UK E-mail address: Alistair.Sutcliffe@mbs.ac.uk

Ann Blandford

UCL Interaction Centre, University College London, Malet Place Engineering Building (8th floor), Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK Tel.: +44 (0)20 7679 0688. E-mail addresses: A.Blandford@ucl.ac.uk
John Long's Comment 1 on this Paper
The article is the introduction to the Festschrift by Alistair Sutcliffe and Ann Blandford, the two editors, both of whom I have known for more years than I care to remember.

Blandford I first met during her MRC/APU Cambridge days, when, with Phil Barnard and Michael Harrison (among others), she worked on the Amodeus project. We continue to bump into each other, of course, at UCL.

It was Sutcliffe (along with Linda Macaulay), who invited me to present a keynote paper at People and Computers V (1989), which became the Long and Dowell ‘Conceptions of the Discipline of HCI: Craft, Applied Science and Engineering’, of which more (yes much more, I am afraid) anon. According to the editors of the proceedings, earlier conferences ‘have reflected on the possible directions and immaturity of HCI, this year’ (1989)’, we intend to focus on the emerging maturity of the discipline’. As an aside, contrast my view, as expressed in the Festschrift: ‘HCI is still in its early stages. Trends and visions come and go. The field is too immature for any consensus agreement…..’ No necessary contradiction. Perhaps the emergence of maturity in HCI simply takes a long time.

Initially, I was not very keen on a personal Festschrift, preferring instead a celebration of the work of the Ergonomics and HCI Unit at UCL. However, the Editors’ view quite rightly prevailed. Their introduction, as might be expected, is taken up with a short summary of each of the papers, published in the Festschrift. Hence, it prompts few comments. It is included here for completeness.

It is a pleasure to introduce this special Festschrift edition in honour of John Long’s contribution to Human Computer Interaction and the science of design more broadly.

Comment 2
The claim that Long contributed to “the science of design more broadly” is accepted, because some HCI theorists consider HCI to be a design science (for example, Carroll in his Festschrift paper writes: “although HCI was always conceived as a design science ……”). However, many do not. Like them, Long eschews the concept of HCI as a design science. In contrast, he claims to have contributed: to HCI, as a Design Discipline and to HCI, as an Engineering Design Discipline (Long and Dowell, 1989); to a conception of the HCI Engineering Design Problem (Dowell and Long, 1989 and 1998); to HCI Engineering Design Models and Methods; and to HCI Engineering Design Principles (Long, 2010). There is, then, a contrast between HCI, as a Science. and HCI, as Engineering. However, Long and Dowell do refer to their work as ‘an epistemological enquiry’. As such, it could obviously constitute a phenomenon for the ‘science of design’.

John Long is one of the founders of our discipline in the UK and contributed significantly to the emergence of HCI in the international arena.

Comment 3
 While the claim is (modestly) accepted, that Long is one of the founders of HCI in the UK (or at least that he was there at the start), the uniqueness of the claim depends on who else might also be considered a founder. Our listing might differ in interesting ways. 

As readers will see from the collection of papers which review and develop Long’s work, he questioned the nature of HCI at a deep level in proposing, with John Dowell, his well known and much cited ‘conception’ of the discipline (Long and Dowell, 1989; Dowell and Long, 1998). However, John Long’s HCI research started with work on menu design (Barnard et al., 1977), and frameworks of HCI attracted his attention soon afterwards (Morton et al., 1979). In addition to his theory research, Long’s contributions have included method development exploring the convergence of software engineering and HCI (Lim and Long, 1994), evaluation methodology (Denley and Long, 1997), analysis and design of socio-technical systems (Smith et al., 1997), and applying his expertise and knowledge to CSCW (Lambie and Long, 2002) and requirements engineering (Denley and Long, 2001).


In addition to his research, John Long developed the UCL Ergonomics unit from its origins in human factors into a research centre in Human Computer Interaction, now the UCL Interaction Centre (UCLIC).

Comment 4
 Although ‘Human Factors’ and ‘Ergonomics’ are often used interchangeably, the founders of the Ergonomics Unit would certainly have considered its origins to be in Ergonomics. Long’s main contribution was to introduce research to the Unit and in particular to develop research into HCI.


He introduced the first specialist Masters course in HCI that has produced usability, HCI and human factors experts who have taken their knowledge and John Long’s influence throughout the UK and worldwide. Long’s influence through the diaspora of his PhD students, post-doctoral researchers and the large number of graduates from UCL has been immense, spreading HCI in academia and industry throughout the world.

Comment 5
 ‘Throughout the world’ is a strong claim; but, on (modest) balance, fair enough. Particular areas influenced include: Europe (France; Holland; Belgium); USA; South America (Brazil; Columbia); and the Far East (Hong Kong; Singapore; Malaysia; China).



Fourteen papers were submitted to this special edition from a variety of leading HCI researchers, including several who were Long’s PhD students. After the review process five papers were accepted for publication.

The first two papers in this special edition focus on Long’s conception of the HCI discipline and develop the authors’ viewpoint about where HCI is developing as a discipline since the conception was published and revised in the last millennium (Long and Dowell, 1989; Dowell and Long, 1998).

Comment 6
 To be clear, the HCI Discipline Conception (Long and Dowell, 1989) has never been revised. The HCI Design Problem Conception (Dowell and Long, 1989) has been re-expressed as the Cognitive Engineering Design Problem (Dowell and Long, 1998).

The special edition thus forms part of the debate on the future of HCI that has appeared in different forms in recent years, reflected in a wide range of papers: for example Carroll (2001), or Rogers’ surveys (1999, 2004) of the diversity of theoretical and pragmatic approaches to HCI as it evolves into new areas of technical and interactive endeavour. Other authors have explored the development of design and more situated, contextual interpretations of HCI (Dourish, 2004; McCarthy and Wright, 2005) demonstrating the diversity of debate which was started by John Long’s work.

Comment 7
 A debate indeed started by the work of Long and, of course, by that of others.


Carroll takes the opportunity to re-join the debate he shared with John Long for many years. He reviews the history of HCI in the science and engineering tradition which was the predominant focus in the 1980s and 1990s, but disagrees with the contention that HCI should be viewed as an engineering discipline. Instead, Carroll proposes that designs and artefacts can be seen as theories and reusable knowledge in their own right, a view which he developed into a rival framework for HCI in the task-artfact cycle. He argues that Long’s framework makes an over-rigid distinction between applied science, engineering and craft, since craft can deliver generalisable knowledge, while science can be directly applied to design via specialised models. Carroll then widens the debate to the future of HCI, noting that as applications have diversified from office work to entertainment, collaboration and social computing, HCI needs to develop as a meta-discipline of design, to evolve design quality beyond usability and master the techniques for delivering innovative and satisfying designs.

Dix also critiques the Long and Dowell framework of HCI, noting that the discipline has changed radically in recent years to embrace aesthetics, fun, entertainment and many new design goals. Dix also points out that the engineering view in the early years may have been more relevant when little HCI knowledge existed, especially in industry; however, he argues that successful design also requires considerable tacit knowledge to interpret design problems. He notes that the models and rules from science may often be mis-applied since the original assumptions and limitations are lost when knowledge is reused. He contends that HCI has succeeded through educating designers, but argues that a new conception is needed which focuses on methodology, in the true sense of the word: a study of process and methods. He argues that we need to develop, critique and integrate various techniques and processes by which we evaluate designs, in order to establish quality and generalisable knowledge. He believes that HCI should become a meta-discipline of design methodology.

The following three papers all demonstrate how John Long’s intellectual legacy has been developed in three very different directions, which form three samples of a much broader literature on UCL-authored methods, tools and applications influenced by Long’s mentoring and encouragement.

Wild reviews the UCL concept of HCI and work system design, then describes how he has extended it to address current concerns in service-oriented systems. Services marketing and service-oriented design are grounded in activity modelling, expanding approaches to domain analysis and the contextual influences of Long’s work. Wild argues that affective values and aesthetic aspects of the new HCI agenda can be integrated within Long’s engineering conception. Rather than retreating to discursive, craft-based approaches to emotion, motivation and values in design, he argues for systematic application of psychological knowledge. Wild illustrates his argument with a case study of design trade-off analysis for services using his ABFS method. The paper concludes with a discussion of the future contribution of HCI to service systems research in business and technology design.

Hill also develops the work systems heritage of Long’s research with a method for analysing socio-technical systems. Her PCMT framework analyses tasks in collaborative systems with a cognitive action model for communication, coordination and use of resources. The framework is applied to an emergency management case study to demonstrate how problems of poor coordination and access to resources can be discovered through modeling, leading to organisational, training and technology solutions to remedy potential pathologies with complex systems and operational procedures.

In the last paper, Salter demonstrates the intellectual reach of Long’s legacy in a method development study that takes the science and engineering elements of the HCI conception and applies them to the discipline of economics.

Comment 8
 Strictly speaking, neither the HCI Discipline Conception  nor the HCI Engineering Conception has elements of Science, as such. The user model of the Engineering Conception, however, obviously draws on the information processing tradition of Psychology.


Based on Kuhn’s framework for science paradigms, Salter argues that the engineering can be extended with formal processes that assure a set of requirements are matched by an artefact or design within the scope of generalised classes of problems. An approach to design of markets in microeconomics is reviewed and systematised following Long’s recommendations for production of engineering knowledge as principles, rules and laws.

Comment 9
 According to Long (2010), HCI Engineering Knowledge consists of: Models; Methods; and Principles. ‘Rules’ might properly be included in these types of knowledge; but ‘laws’ are eschewed, as typifying Science.



The ‘market engineering’ method is applied to review the history of doctors’ work and training allocation systems. Salter argues that the problem abstraction concerns matching doctors’ preferences and skills to the available jobs; and that this problem can be solved with preference–order matching algorithms derived from game theoretic approaches and suitable work system design to capture preferences. He then applies his engineering concept to the current financial crises where the matching problem abstraction can be used to realign and redesign banks so their services match the needs of different clients more transparently and effectively.

The special edition ends with a postscript in which we invited John Long to re-join the debate presented by Carroll and Dix, as well as review the contributions of the other three papers.

Comment 10
 In the event, Long reviewed all the papers similarly, that is, with the aim of ‘addressing by way of clarifications, issues problematic for EU research’.

A fitting testimonial to his work is to let him have the last word. It has been a pleasure working with John Long, and with all the authors, the reviewers and Dianne Murray of IWC to create this Festschrift special edition. The reviewers are listed below.

1. Reviewers for the Festschrift

We thank all the reviewers who made this Festschrift possible:

Anne Anderson, Chris Baber, Jonathan Back, David Benyon, Alan Blackwell, Paul Cairns, Gilbert Cockton, Andrew Dearden, Linda Macaulay, Neil Maiden, John McCarthy, Shailey Minocha, Andrew Monk, Fabio Paterno, Stephen Payne, Mark Perry, Alan Dix, Ellen Do, Gavin Doherty, John Dowell, Janet Finlay, Dominic Furniss, Phil Gray, Michael Harrison, Jean-Michel Hoc, Steve Howard, Chris Johnson, Hilary Johnson, Yvonne Rogers, Dominique Scapin, Helen Sharp, Wally Smith, Harold Thimbleby, Gerrit van der Veer, Frank Vetere, Peter Wild, Stephanie Wilson, Trevor Wood Harper, William Wong, Peter Wright


Barnard, P.J., Morton, J., Long, J.B., Ottley, P., 1977. Planning menus for display: Some effects of their structure and content on user performance. In: IEE Conference Publications No. 150: Displays for Man–Machine Systems. IEE, London.

Carroll, J.M. (Ed.), 2001. Human–Computer Interaction in the New Millennium. ACM Press, New York.

Denley, I., Long, J.B., 1997. A planning aid for human factors evaluation practice. Behaviour and Information Technology 16 (4/5), 203–219.

Denley, I., Long, J.B., 2001. Multidisciplinary practice in requirements engineering: problems and criteria for support. In: People and Computers XV – Interaction without Frontiers. Joint Proceedings of HCI 2001 and IHM 2001. Springer, London.

Dourish, P., 2004. Where the Action Is: The foundations of Embodied Interaction. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

Dowell, J., Long, J.B., 1998. A conception of the cognitive engineering design problem. Ergonomics 41 (2), 126–139.

Lambie, T., Long, J.B., 2002. Co-operative systems design: a challenge of the mobility age. In: Engineering CSCW. IOS Press, Amsterdam.

Lim, K.Y., Long, J.B., 1994. The MUSE Method for Usability Engineering. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Long, J.B., Dowell, J., 1989. Conceptions for the discipline of HCI: Craft, applied science, and engineering. In: People and Computers V: Proceedings of Fifth Conference of the BCS HCI SIG. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

McCarthy, J., Wright, P., 2005. Technology as Experience. MIT Press, Cambridge MA.

Morton, J., Barnard, P., Hammond, N., Long, J.B., 1979. Interacting with the computer: a framework. In: Boutmy, E.J., Danthine, A. (Eds.), Teleinformatics’79. Springer,

Rogers, Y., 1999. Instilling interdisciplinarity: HCI from the perspective of cognitive
science. SIGCHI Bulletin 31 (3), 4–8.

Rogers, Y., 2004. New theoretical approaches for human–computer interaction.
Annual Review of Information. Science and Technology 38, 87–143.

Smith, M.W., Hill, B., Long, J.B., Whitefield, A.D., 1997. A design-oriented framework for modelling the planning and control of multiple task work in Secretarial Office Administration. Behaviour and Information Technology 16 (3), 161–