Rhetorical theory approach for a better human-computer interaction

Octaviyanti Dwi Wahyurini*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This article argues that Western hegemony in current theoretical approaches to Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) has often undermined the social and cultural context that informs the way non-Western users interact with technology. The burgeoning interest to deploy new methods and metaphors outside HCI’s traditional science and engineering approaches following the decentralization of Western thinking should be seen as a movement to re-conceptualize interactions between human and technology from its mechanical focus to interaction as a rhetorical situation. By seeing human-computer interaction as a rhetorical situation, HCI researchers and practitioners can unfold social and cultural situatedness in interacting with computer technology, as well as the dynamic meanings of acting with technology for opening rooms to conversations on culturally situated computing. This article will begin with how rhetorical theories explain our understanding to the current human-computer interaction practices. Second, it will review the core traditions in HCI—human factors and classic cognitivism/informational processing—followed by examining the new waves in HCI that represent alternative theoretical approaches from fields of humanities, feminist theories, sociology, anthropology, and design. This article will conclude by discussing a rhetorical approach to interaction design that has been used to develop a culturally based interaction design for users in non-Western settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-41
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Design in Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Dramatism
  • HCI
  • Interaction Design
  • Rhetoric


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