Usability as Speculum Mundi: A Core Concept in Socio-technical Systems Development

Mikko Rajanen, Dorina Rajanen


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.


Usability; Socio-technical Systems; Conceptualization; Vitruvius

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DOI: 10.7250/csimq.2020-22.04



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