Interface Criticism: Aesthetics beyond Buttons

Interface Criticism: Aesthetics beyond Buttons

Interface Criticism: Aesthetics beyond Buttons

Interface Criticism: Aesthetics beyond Buttons

Excerpt

The human computer interface has been a growing part of our culture for decades. First came the early experiments with computer graphics and games in the 1960s, then the commercial introduction of graphical user interfaces in the mid-1980s, and today computer interfaces take a myriad forms and are constantly met both at work and in our private lives. Wherever we go, we find physical inter faces such as the mouse, keyboards, controllers, touch screens, microphones and cameras; we see visual interfaces such as desktop metaphors and computer game worlds; we hear audible interfaces such as sounds signalling the state of a machine, the start-up of an operating system, an incoming text message, or more sophisticated audio interfaces as in audio based games and sound art. The range of interfaces is expanding to meet the needs of different technologies, uses, cultures and contexts: mobile, networked, ubiquitous or embedded in the environment and architecture. Some interfaces may even be designed to be invisible and imperceptible such as those used in surveillance and tracking technologies. No matter how or where, the interface is a dominant cultural form providing a way to mediate between humans and machines and between culture and data, affecting the way we perceive cultural activities and perform them in public and private.

Interfaces are designed with specific purposes, some very narrow and technically determined as technical protocols, others more application and end user oriented such as interfaces for reading, seeing, listening, communication and experience. Until recently, it has been common practice to discuss interfaces primarily from an

Thanks to Claire Neesham for language correction.

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