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Flow Models are useful contextual inquires.

andysimmo profile image Andrew Simpson ・1 min read

I am nearly one year into my part-time MSc (By Research) Computer Science at the University of York, within the Human-Computer-Interaction (HCI) group.

An interesting book which was recommended to me by my supervisor (Dr Paul Cairns) is Beyer & Holtzblatt’s Contextual Design: Defining Customer-Centered Systems.

The book is a must-have for those who are completing some sort of HCI research for Software Design.

The book details something called a Flow Model, which is a visual model that helps to describe the point of view of the person being interviewed or observed (Beyer & Holtzblatt, 1997)

I have found that by using this modelling method, I have been able to visualize the chaos in interaction between different people, tasks & systems, the communication & coordination of people, and the interruptions that they have, in a previously thought ‘well-organised’ workflow.

The data is quite interesting. However, as the data will be used for my MSc I cannot publish the results yet.


Beyer, H. and Holtzblatt, K., 1997. Contextual design: defining customer-centered systems. Elsevier.

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