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Interface Culture Past, Present and Future Marientina Gotsis
Documenting the Past § Digital Media History NOT an official subject at the University level § Consider this: how long was it before photography and film were inducted in the ‘historical’ realm of study?
A brief tribute
claims to fame § Vannevar Bush in 1945 envisioned a computer device which would be able to access vast amounts of linked data (hyperlinking) § He called that machine: the MEMEX Vannevar Bush with his Differential Analyzer, c. 1935. MIT Museum
claims to fame § Douglas Engelbart invented a wooden rodent in 1963 § He holds more than 20 patents so far
claims to fame
geek trivia § How old was Marc Anderseen when he co-founded Netscape Communications? § 22 years old
geek trivia § Who fathered Lisa and Hypercard? § Bill Atkison
geek trivia § Whose name is synonymous with: URL, HTTP, XML, CSS, DOM, SVG, W 3 C, RDF, XHTML and more related acronyms… § Tim Berners-Lee
geek trivia § What year was Ethernet invented by 3 Com’s founder, Robert Metcalfe? § 1973
geek trivia § Creator of C++ Bjarne Stroustrup, is a native of which country whose language is music to nobody’s ears? § Denmark
Theories and disputes
[*definition] § “a computer program that enables a person to communicate with a computer through the use of symbols, visual metaphors, and pointing devices. ”. -Brittanica. com
[*definition] § “ The idea that good user interface design is based on metaphors is one of the most insidious of the many myths that permeate the software community (…) The metaphor paradigm is based on intuiting how things work, a problematic method. The idiomatic paradigm is based on learning how to accomplish things, a natural, human process. ” – Alan Cooper
popular rules § § § § Don't make the user look stupid. The goal of all software users is to be more effective. User interfaces that conform to implementation models are bad. Users don't understand Boolean. Transliterated mechanical models are always worse on computers. Visually show what, textually show which. A visual interface is based on visual patterns. Users would rather be successful than knowledgeable. All idioms must be learned, good idioms only need to be learned once. Never bend your interface to fit a metaphor. A dialog box is another room. Have a good reason to go there. Build function controls into the window where they are used. A gallon of oil won't make a bicycle pedal itself.
popular rules § Purchase the right software then buy the computer that runs it. Build the program to run on only one platform at a time. § Don't hamper primary markets by serving secondary markets. § The program should be designed expressly for the target platform. § No matter how cool your interface is, less of it would be better. § Good user interfaces are invisible. § Don't put might on will. § Ask forgiveness, not permission. § Don't use dialogs to report normalcy. § Disks and file make users crazy. § Disks are a hack, not a design feature. § The program should perform optimally on hardware that doesn't exist yet.
popular rules Prepare for the probable case. Have a reason for each idiom. Sovereign users are experienced users. One user's excise task is another user's revenue task. Eliminating excise makes the user more effective. Never make the user ask to ask. Allow input wherever you output. Don't stop the proceedings with idiocy. Questions aren't choices. If it's worth asking the user, it's worth the program remembering. Button-down means select over data. Button down means propose action: button-up means commit to action over gizmos. § Visually hint at pliancy. § § §
popular rules § § § § Indicating pliancy is the most important role of cursor hinting. Make selection visually bold and unambiguous. Use color_highlight and color_highlight-text to show selection. A rich visual interaction is the key to successful direct manipulation. Provide an escape from dragging, and inform the user. Offer OK and Cancel buttons on all modal dialog boxes. The drop candidate must visually indicate its dropability. The drag cursor must visually indicate the master object. Any scrollable drag-and-drop target must auto-scroll. Debounce all drags. Any program that demands precise alignment must offer a vernier. Disable menu items when they are moot. Parallel visual symbols on parallel command vectors.
popular rules § § § § Don't use bang menu items. Put primary interaction on the primary window. Dialog boxes break flow. Never create a system modal dialog box. Visually differentiate modeless dialogs from modal dialogs. Give modeless dialog boxes consistent terminating commands. Never change terminating button captions. Things that behave differently should look different. The program must inform the user when it gets stupid. All dialog boxes should have caption bars. Use verbs in function dialog caption bars. Use object names in property dialog caption bars. Dialogs should be as small as possible, but no smaller.
popular rules § § § § Never use terminating words in dialogs. Don't put close boxes on modal dialogs. Put terminating buttons in an untabbed area. All idioms have practical limits. Don't stack tabs. Toolbars provide experienced users with fast access to frequently used functions. Tool. Tips are indispensable to toolbars. A multitude of gizmo-laden dialog boxes doth not a good interface make. Consistency is not necessarily a virtue. Every text item in a list should have an identifying graphic icon next to it. Never scroll text horizontally. Offer bounded gizmos for bounded input. Accepting bounded data into unbounded gizmos is an important sources of user frustration.
popular rules § § § § Show validated-entry gizmos with a different border. Show; don't tell. Never use sustaining dialogs as error messages or confirmations. Error message boxes stop the proceedings with idiocy. User interface is not just skin deep. Make errors impossible. No crisis inside a computer is worth humiliating a human. The customer is always right. Do, don't ask. Make everything reversible. Directly offer enough information for the user to avoid mistakes. It's not your fault, but it's your responsibility. Audit, don't edit.
popular rules § § § § UNDO Users don't make mistakes. Nobody wants to be a beginner. Optimize for intermediates. Any command is a working set candidate. Imagine users as very intelligent but very busy. Users make commensurate effort. Obey standards unless you've got a darn good reason. Hide the ejector seat levers. The computer does the work and the user does the thinking. Offer the user a gallery of good solutions. User interface design is not guesswork. User testing can never substitute for user interface design.
[*associations] § “Best known for its implementation in Apple Computer, Inc. 's Macintosh and Microsoft Corporation's Windows operating system, the GUI has replaced the arcane and difficult textual interfaces of earlier computing with a relatively intuitive system that has made computer operation not only easier to learn but more pleasant and natural. ” -Brittanica. com
[*cultural heritage] § “The GUI is now the standard computer interface, and its components have themselves become unmistakable cultural artifacts. ” -Brittanica. com
symbols and messages § Semantics govern the relationship between the user and the interface § Inheritance plays a role in understanding or ignoring pace § Intuition functions differently crossculturally and even from person-to-person
metaphors § ‘The distance between the thing and the something else is what makes a metaphor successful’ § Taking the metaphor too seriously has left us with the legacy of the 3 D trash can and the ‘is it a folder or a directory’ dispute
the trash can and the conceptual black hole § Most people who throw away files in the trash can don’t know they have to empty the trash § Does your garbage can bitch when you throw away food from last week? § Do you throw the toaster in the garbage in order for it to spit out the english muffins?
food for thought § Cultural artifacts for sale http: //www. kopes. com/computer/personal icon. htm § The conceptual black hole http: //philosophy. uoregon. edu/metaphor/ gui 4 web. htm § Interface Hall of Shame http: //www. iarchitect. com/shame. htm
innovation, imitation and absorption § Skins
reality check § The average computer which we all perceive as a wonderful ‘tool’, ‘medium’ and ‘gateway’ is for many still just a glorified typewriter
the big difference § Speed is the only factor that has change from the past § Industrial society is 'an anarchy of permanent revolution‘ -Marx
slowing down § If the QWERTY keyboard was invented to slow down typists, do we owe interface designers a favor for counter -productivity?
consumer culture § Interface designers and the ‘interior decorator’ syndrome § Ping-pong with gaming aesthetics § Deconstructive criticism
VR culture § Reconstruction of space still a popular idea § Cultural Heritage projects inevitably push us to that direction § Gaming industry popularized VR
consumer culture § This decade, the interface concept entered every house in one way or another § The push of a capitalist economy: demand/supply vs. hacker ethics
new goals on the web § Fighting fragmentation § Quality of authorship § Intelligent contact § Multi-level adaptability
who are we? § Digital Leonardos – Artist, philosopher, engineer, psychologist, historian and more… § Observe shift from generalist -> specialist -> jack of all trades, master of SOME.
artist as interface designer §Amateurs sometimes are better than the pros §Creativity is a given §Stigma of going digital
the battle § Result: web interface designers struggle between – Replicating the printed document onto the screen – Integrating the web interface with the software – Wanting to include animation, sound and video
the battle § Do all that and still be original! § Synthetic vs. Deconstructivist approach
innovators today § Porn industry § Students like you and me § Artists like you and me § E-commerce needs § Federal-funded research
Digital Cassandras, Knit. Picking and VR
the expectations § ‘Virtual reality promised to dissolve the interface between "user" and "world. “’ § ‘There was always some philosophical confusion, of course, about why being there would be any better than being here. But we never got there anyway, and we don't seem to miss it. Huddled at our edge of the millennial divide, we're happy, thanks to the World Wide Web, to stay home and order out. ’ –Pam Rosenthal
lesssons from biology § Mistakes and hybrids make evolution possible
digital depression § Generational struggle may strike as a result of an economic depression § If the economy slows down, funds will shift from private to federal, favoring students/researchers § So far, being in the private sector has proven very profitable BUT: § Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!
digital blues § ‘The New Economy is not simply higher productivity and rising incomes. Nor it is faster computers, bigger homes and cars and an all-prevasive Internet. The soul of the New Economy is the ability and willingness to take bigger risks, on individual and societal levels, in pursuit of growth, innovation and change – and it’s this willingness that will be tested by the coming downturn. ” -Michael J. Mandel