Technological interfaces often provide restricted access to controlled systems, requiring human operators to compensate by developing and reasoning with internal models. One solution to this problem is to enhance interface displays to provide the operator with an external system model or models. This design approach presumes complete and accurate display models can always be created and also ignores how inadequate interface resources for action, as opposed to perception, may be contributing to interaction difficulties. The article considers an alternative approach focussing on enhancing interface resources for action, motivated by the observation that people can sometimes compensate for inadequate perceptual conditions by acting to generate novel sources of perceptual information. The majority of the paper consists of a description and mathematical analysis of how performers at various skill levels use action to create perceptual information during system control, in the context of an everyday control task: short order cooking. The analysis also demonstrates how the most expert performers used action to create an external model of task dynamics that could be used in lieu of an internal model. The scope and limits of this action based design approach are considered.