A significant proportion of early HCI research was guided by one very clear vision: that the existing theory base in psychology and cognitive science could be developed to yield engineering tools for use in the interdisciplinary context of HCI design. While interface technologies and heuristic methods for behavioral evaluation have rapidly advanced in both capability and breadth of application, progress toward deeper theory has been modest, and some now believe it to be unnecessary. A case is presented for developing new forms of theory, based around generic “systems of interactors.” An overlapping, layered structure of macro- and microtheories could then serve an explanatory role, and could also bind together contributions from the different disciplines. Novel routes to formalizing and applying such theories provide a host of interesting and tractable problems for future basic research in HCI
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