Network-Based Interaction

Alan Dix

Lancaster University (and at time of first publication, vfridge and aQtive)

Chapter 16 from Human-Computer Interaction Handbook (first edition)

updated for The Human-Computer Interaction Handbook: Fundamentals, Evolving Technologies and Emerging Applications, Second Edition

and second edition version reprinted in: Human-Computer Interaction Fundamentals

see extended abstract and overview slides in HTML or PPT (30K)
also early draft chapter (PDF, 375K)

Full reference:

A. Dix (2003). Network-Based Interaction.
Chapter 16. The Human-Computer Interaction Handbook: fundamentals, evolving technologies and emerging applications, eds. J. Jacko and A. Sears. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. ISBN 0-8058-4468-6. pp.331-357.

A. Dix (2007). Network-Based Interaction.
Chapter 16. Human-Computer Interaction Handbook (2nd ed.) , eds. A. Sears and J. Jacko. CRC Press, 2007.
second edition book site @ CRC

A. Dix (2009). Network-Based Interaction.
Chapter 16. Human-Computer Interaction Fundamentals, eds. A. Sears and J. Jacko. CRC Press, 2009.
HCI fundamentals book site @ CRC

In some ways this chapter could be seen as redundant in a HCI book – surely networks are just an implementation mechanism, a detail below the surface, all that matters are the interfaces that are built on them. On the other hand, networked interfaces, especially the web, but increasingly also mobile devices, have changed the way we view the world and we view society. Even those bastions of conservatism, the financial institutions have found themselves in sea-change and a complete re-structuring of the fundamentals of businesses ... just an implementation detail.


The chapter will begin with a brief overview of types of networks (section 16.2) and then deal with network-based interaction under four main headings:

  networks as enablers (16.3)
things that are only possible with networks
  networks as mediators (16.4)
issues and problems because of networks
  networks as subjects (16.5)
understanding and managing networks
  networks as platforms (16.6)
algorithms and architectures for distributed interfaces

In addition, there will be a section (16.7) taking a broader view of the history and future of network interaction and the societal effects and paradigm changes engendered, especially by more resent developments in global and wireless networking..

keywords: networks, internet, groupware, e-commerce, network delays, social impact of technology

references and links


additional links

Alan Dix 20/9/2001