Models and Theories in Human-Computer Interaction/Diffusion as a reliable predictor

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Diffusion a predictor? (Steven Campbell)[edit]

The Diffusion of Innovation is a theory of distribution of technology and idea throughout social groups. It is composed of four primary elements – the innovation in question, the time period, the communication routes available and a social system. Communication routes are any mechanism that basically allow someone to convey the technology/idea to another person, be this though simple phone conversation to another person talking about the idea to a person simply observing the usage the technology. The social system are groups of interrelated people. For example groups of farmers using hybrid seeds as per the example from the reading. This is a theory that deals with how media, and inter personal communications affect adoption not just simply what something’s perceived usefulness and perceived easy of usage is.

The theory relies considerably on a human element and that human element reaching a certain level of adoption of the technology/idea or critical mass. Eventually forming an S Curve between the early adopters, the critical mass of adoption and the people that lag behind or laggards.

In my own experience with content management systems in the public sector, the typical element involved in TAM – usefulness and easy of usage do come into play with the adoption of the content management system available to the enterprise however with no leadership direction on what system should or should not be used potential adopter do find out about system and the capabilities of those system via internal social networks. Making the decision to adopt or not based on the communication received with those social partners. Baring an overt situation of requirement like in an employment role, Diffusion of Innovation is the better model for determining technological adoption due to consideration of the social environment around the adoption or lack thereof.