Applying Aristotle's Theory of Poetics to Design

Steven Clarke, Patrick Jordan, Gilbert Cockton

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    In the book, 'Computers As Theatre', Laurel (1991) considers the potential contribution that Aristotle's theory of Poetics can make to software design. This paper reports a study in which Laurel's ideas were used as the basis for the design of an information retrieval system. There were two main research questions: did the principles outlined form a practical basis for making design decisions and did software designed according to these principles bring measurable benefits to the users? In order to address these questions a designer's experiences with applying the principles throughout the design of an information retrieval system were recorded and the usability of the finished system was compared to that of a 'traditionally' designed system via an empirical evaluation. The outcomes of this evaluation suggested a number of benefits in designing according to these principles - in particular in terms of making an interface more engaging and enjoyable to use. However, the designer felt that some of the principles outlined were difficult to translate into concrete design solutions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationContemporary Ergonomics 1995
    EditorsS. A. Robertson
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherTaylor & Francis
    Number of pages580
    ISBN (Print)9780748403288
    Publication statusPublished - 1995
    EventAnnual Conference of the Ergonomics Society - Kent
    Duration: 1 Jan 1995 → …


    ConferenceAnnual Conference of the Ergonomics Society
    Period1/01/95 → …


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