This workshop aims at extracting and consolidating ‘successful’ and ‘unsuccessful’ technology appropriation experiences from a wide range of application contexts. Interrelating these technology appropriation experiences with the context of use is of particular importance in order to actually understand the situated nature of interaction (Kaye 2006). Therefore, specific contexts (e.g., production lines with 24/7 shift production cycles or safety critical contexts such as cars) may be specifically interesting, as they are frequently characterized by strict regulations that are defined to avoid appropriation practices. However, even in these restricted environments, technology appropriation happens for various reasons, and one of these is the need for communication. Some research draws particular attention to the importance of the social context and the conditions in which appropriation is actually happening (e.g., Dourish 2001, Draxler et al. 2012). Following Draxler et al. (2012) appropriation can be considered “as being highly cooperative, situated, socially embedded, and often connected to particular work situations”. Here, appropriation itself is seen as a highly social activity, which is embedded in very specific context-related situations wherein the technology adaption is mostly performed between peers or colleagues (Draxler et al. 2012). Accordingly, appropriation should be understood as a phenomenon that is characterized by many creative and collaborative activities (Stevens et al. 2010).

Whereas appropriation may be regarded as a social phenomenon itself, this workshop in particular strives to investigate technology appropriation for MEETING SOCIAL PURPOSES, i.e., communication and cooperation. Therefore, ‘unexpected’ communication requirements need to be identified and consolidated through looking at users’ appropriation behavior. Here, communication needs that were satisfied through appropriating the technology may be considered as ‘successful’; however, also ‘unsuccessful’, i.e., appropriation that aimed, but did not result in, satisfied communication needs, are of relevance.

Dix (2007) and Carroll (2004) highlight that “design can never be complete” as it is impossible to design for the ‘unexpected’, but that “you can design to allow the unexpected”. These appropriation practices then constitute the basis for the design and implementation of technology innovations (Carroll 2004). Consequently, they may be considered an essential and positive phenomenon (Dix 2007, Carroll 2004, Kaye 2006, Sengers et al. 2005). In line with this perspective, this workshop is not aiming to derive concrete design implications, but to reflect on experiences with such ‘unexpected’ communication requirements identified through technology appropriation to provide an informed basis for research and design.

The workshop addresses the following goals and questions (but is not limited to):

Identifying appropriation practices:

  • What appropriation practices may be identified that aim to satisfy communication needs?

Relating appropriation practices to communication needs:

  • In what way has the technology been appropriated to fit certain communication needs?
  • What ‘unexpected’ communication needs may be derived from these examples? How are these characterized?

Embedding practices and needs into the context:

  • How have technologies been ‘domesticated’ in various contexts?
  • How do specific contexts with their inherent characteristics imply certain communication channels that lead to these particular technology appropriations?

Deriving an informed basis for research & design:

  • What potentials do these experiences have to inform the design of such technologies?
  • What can research and design learn from these appropriation strategies?


Alan Dix. 2007. Designing for appropriation. BCS-HCI ’07. Vol. 2. British Computer Society, Swinton, UK, UK, 27-30.

Gunnar Stevens, Volkmar Pipek, and Volker Wulf. 2010. Appropriation Infrastructure: Mediating appropriation and production work. In Journal of organizational and end user computing: JOEUC 22 (2010), Nr. 2, Special issue.

Jennie Carroll. 2004. Completing Design in Use: Closing the Appropriation Cycle. ECIS 2004. Turku, Finland, 11 pages. Paper 44.

Joseph ‘Jofish’ Kaye. 2006. I just clicked to say I love you: rich evaluations of minimal communication. CHI EA ’06. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 363-368.

Paul Dourish. 2001. Process descriptions as organisational accounting devices: the dual use of workflow technologies. GROUP ’01. Clarence (Skip) Ellis and Ilze Zigurs (Eds.). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 52-60.

Phoebe Sengers, Kirsten Boehner, Shay David, and Joseph ‘Jofish’ Kaye. 2005. Reflective design. CC ’05. Olav W. Bertelsen, Niels Olof Bouvin, Peter G. Krogh, and Morten Kyng (Eds.). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 49-58.

Sebastian Draxler, Gunnar Stevens, Martin Stein, Alexander Boden, and David Randall. 2012. Supporting the social context of technology appropriation: on a synthesis of sharing tools and tool knowledge. CHI ’12. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2835-2844.