Human-centred system

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Human-centred systems is a term (in economics, computing and design) coined by Irish engineer Mike Cooley in 1982 in reference to the transition in his industry from traditional drafting at a drawing board to Computer-Aided Design.[1] Human-centred systems aim to preserve or enhance human skills, in both manual and office work, in environments in which technology tends to undermine the skills that people use in their work.[2][3]

A number of projects have attempted to see whether and how human-centred systems can be developed:

  • the Utopia project in Scandinavia, where a group of computer scientists, social scientists and print workers combined to design a workstation for newspaper layout.[4]
  • in machine tools and computer-aided manufacture.[5]
  • in clerical work.[6]

A different approach with a similar name is Human-centered computing.


  1. ^ Architect or Bee?, Mike Cooley, South End Press, 1982
  2. ^ Labor and Monoply Capital. The Degradation of Work in the 20th Century, John Bellamy Foster and Harry Braverman, Monthly Review Press, 1998
  3. ^ Programmers and Managers: The Routinization of Computer Programmers in the United States, Philip Kraft, 1977
  4. ^ Ehn, P. & Kyng, M. . The Collective Resource Approach to Systems Design. In Bjerknes, G., Ehn, P., & Kyng, M. (Eds.), Computers and Democracy – A Scandinavian Challenge. (pp. 17–58). Aldershot, UK: Avebury, 1987
  5. ^ Designing human-centred technology, HH Rosenbrock, Springer-Verlag, 1989
  6. ^ Gendered by Design?: Information Technology and Office Systems, Eileen Green, Jenny Owen, Den Pain, Taylor & Francis, 1993