Poor usability and hence a stressful work situation is still a severe problem in computer-supported work, despite efforts to increase the focus on these issues. Consequently, Sweden has a high level of sick rates, particularly in the civil service sector, and some problems relating to inadequate IT systems with poor usability. In this chapter, we aim at understanding attitudes about and practices for integrating usability and users’ health issues in systems development. Quality in value—i.e. users’ well-being, productivity, and user satisfaction—is shaped by attitudes and perspectives underpinning discourse in systems development. These attitudes and perspectives are embedded in the methods, models, and representations used in systems development, as well as in discourse and action. In our qualitative study, data was collected through semistructured interviews with 127 informants, and in a case study of an ongoing project in one organization. During analysis of data, we identified problems with attitudes and perspectives about users and their work, such as the strong focus on automation, efficiency, and surveillance of work, which shaped the development of new technology and ultimately shapes the work situation of the user. Furthermore, we identified that the work of civil servants was frequently discussed in terms of simple steps and procedures that can be predefined and automated in accordance with clearly defined rules and regulations. Finally, we suggest user-centered design and field studies to address the problems and to improve the understanding of the users’ needs and work practices in development projects.
London: Springer London, 2008. 243-266 p.