Thursday, September 23, 2010

MX: Windows & Mirrors

I really enjoyed this reading because I feel like it informed me on not only by proving me with some history, but also making me aware of some of the kinds of thinking I should be doing in relation to our project. I like that computers are described as information appliances in the beginning, and now they are described as a medium. 

There seemed to be two sort of battles going on between designers and structuralists. For example, David Siegel said "Who cares how great your content is if the people aren't attracted to it or find it pleasurable to read?"I agree with this because I know that I view content this way, and I learn better in this way. There are always those "have to" books and articles we have to read in order to gain knowledge, and if I'm more excited to read about it because it is visually appealing and clear, I gain more from it. But then there was the other side of the argument from Nielsen's POV as a structuralist. He used the analogy of theater and explained that you want the audience to leave discussing the play, not how great the costumes were. I agree with this statement also, and I think both relate back to the initial idea that we should think about a webpage as an experience. In the excerpt there was a long explanation about transparency, and not completely in terms of opacity. Both of these sides kind of explain or show how the information is portrayed and perceived by the user. For one, the user has to be engaged and pulled in visually or else there will be no initial interaction, and second, once the interaction is established information is being given to the user in a way that is not distracting, or in other words transparent. The user should not become distracted by the visual elements, but instead uplift the information into an experience.

I also liked the part in the excerpt when it described the concept behind naming parts of the GCI. Naming is important they say. It was interesting that they almost called "windows" of the computer "frames", but how after thinking they decided that "windows" described the essence of the function better than "frames" did. Frames reminds you that this is an interface, while window leads you into many possibilities of visualizing any experience.

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