University of Oulu

Rajanen, M., & Rajanen, D. (2020). Usability as Speculum Mundi: A Core Concept in Socio-technical Systems Development. Complex Systems Informatics and Modeling Quarterly, 22, 49–59.

Usability as speculum mundi : a core concept in socio-technical systems development

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Author: Rajanen, Mikko1; Rajanen, Dorina1
Organizations: 1INTERACT Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Riga Technical University, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-05-12


Usability covers the breadth and depth of the rich interaction of users and technology in the socio-technical context. Though the concept of usability is well established, the integration of usability thinking in system development is challenging, partly due to the difficulty in understanding the importance of usability and justifying the costs incurred by usability work. This article aims to bring forth three fundamental attributes of usability that originate in classical architecture design, namely, utilitas, firmitas, and venustas. We provide a model of conceptualizing usability as speculum mundi, a lens through which the impacts of interaction at all levels of the organization and society can be identified by drawing parallels between the Vitruvian design principles and the paradigms of usability conceptualization. We restate the importance of the concept of usability in the context of socio-technical systems.

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Series: Complex systems informatics and modeling quarterly
ISSN: 2255-9922
ISSN-E: 2255-9922
ISSN-L: 2255-9922
Volume: 22
Pages: 49 - 59
DOI: 10.7250/csimq.2020-22.04
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: Partly the writing of this article was done during a research grant that Dorina Rajanen received from Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation (Project “Climate Change in the News”) for which we are both very grateful.
Copyright information: © 2020 Mikko Rajanen et al. This is an open access article licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (