Difference between revisions of "Nadie nos dijo que había más botones Por Quelic Berga"

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(Capítulo 3: Ver el árbol... y el bosque.)
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=Reflexiones para decidir naufragar, o, Nadie nos dijo que había más botones.=
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=Reflexions for Deciding to Go Under, or Nobody Told Us There Were More Buttons=
  
==Capítulo 1: Hoy vivimos en una virtualidad realizada, y viajamos a través de interfaces.==
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==Part 1: We are living in a realized virtuality, and we travel through interfaces==
  
Somos de las primeras generaciones en adentrarnos en esta fascinante aventura. Hemos tenido el privilegio de ser los primeros en probar la red, en descubrirla y en habitarla. Y muchas personas han alabado con euforia esta revolución.
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We are part of the first generations to embark on this fascinating adventure. We have enjoyed the privilege of being among the first users to experience, discover and inhabit the net. And many people have euphorically praised this revolution.  
  
Por ejemplo, el 1996 Sherry Turkle, daba una TED talk presentando su nuevo libro, y salía poco después en portada de la Wired Magazine <ref>McCorduck, P. (s.d.). Wired 4.04: Sex, Lies and Avatars. Recuperat 11 maig 2015, de http://archive.wired.com/wired/archive/4.04/turkle.html
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n1996, for instance, Sherry Turkle gave a TED talk to launch her new book, and she was soon on the cover of Wired Magazine<ref>McCorduck, P. (s.d.). Wired 4.04: Sex, Lies and Avatars. Recuperat 11 maig 2015, de http://archive.wired.com/wired/archive/4.04/turkle.html
</ref> al alabar el poder de lo virtual para desarrollar nuestra personalidad y capacidades sociales <ref>Turkle, S. (1997). Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet (Reprint edition). New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.</ref>. Es sorprendente sentir cómo de rápido hemos hecho el cambio. Mis padres se conocieron en un mundo muy analógico, sin tener móviles ni Internet, y hoy conocer a alguien va acompañado de poder ver su perfil, seguirlo y cotillear sus huellas en la red. Poder acceder a toda esta información, conseguir sortear los límites de la distancia gracias a las telecomunicaciones, alcanzar la inmediatez de comunicación y encima poder hacerlo desde prácticamente cualquier lugar del mundo nos ha permitido cambiar nuestra forma de actuar y de ser. Tenemos al alcance mucha información y cada vez nos ayudamos más del potencial de recomendación por parte de algoritmos y sistemas. De hecho, si mis padres se conocieran hoy, seguramente la celestina seria un algoritmo de recomendación, capaz de prever una alta complicidad entre ambos. Pero como apuntó Sherry Turkle, en el 2012, es probable que para ese entonces la calidad de su relación fuese tan mediada por mensajes cortos, fragmentación, tecnología y "falta" de tiempo que sus capacidades de empatizar podrían estar comprometidas. Turkle, 16 años más tarde, da un giro en su discurso, y alerta de cómo las nuevas generaciones están perdiendo ciertas habilidades sociales. Queremos estar conectados, , pero lo justo para no sentir que perdemos el tiempo o arriesgamos demasiado. Me pregunto entonces si hubiese jamás nacido.
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</ref> praising the virtual world’s power to develop our personalities and social capacities <ref>Turkle, S. (1997). Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet (Reprint edition). New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.</ref> It is surprising to see how quickly we have made the change. My parents met in an analogical world, with no mobiles or internet. Now, meeting somebody involves seeing their profile, following them, and sniffing out their traces on the net. The fact that we can access all this information, that we have overcome the limits of distance through telecommunications, and achieved immediacy of communication from almost anywhere in the world, has changed who we are and how we behave. We have huge amounts of information at our fingertips, and we increasingly rely on the recommendations of algorithms and software systems. In fact, if my parents had met today, the role of cupid would probably have been played by an algorithm capable of predicting a high level of compatibility between them. But as Sherry Turkle wrote in 2012, the quality of their relationship by this time would probably be so mediated by short messages, fragmentation, technology, and the “lack” of time, that their capacity to empathise may have been compromised. Sixteen years later, Turkle’s discourse had turned around, and she now warns that younger generations are losing certain social skills. Sure we want to be connected, but just enough to feel that we are not wasting time or risking too much. I wonder whether I would even have been born in this scenario.  
  
Nos hemos ido desplazando de un entorno más tangible, sólido y material a un entorno más basado en la información, más fragmentado y mucho más flexible. El multitasking está de moda, compartir esta de moda y ser popular esta de moda. Celebramos una época de alta interacción entre humanos y maquinas. Y lo hacemos mediante el uso de interfaces diseñadas.
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We have moved from a tangible, solid, physical environment to a much more fragmented and flexible environment based on information. Multitasking is in fashion, sharing is in fashion, being popular is in fashion. We are enjoying a time of intense interaction between humans and machines. And it all happens through human-designed interfaces.  
  
Reflexionamos en este texto sobre ciertos aspectos que pueden ayudarnos a evitar un naufragio, o como mínimo a pensar en como agarrar el timón y crear un poco de debate.  
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This text reflects on certain aspects that can help us to avoid floundering and going under, or at least think about how to take them helm and generate a bit of debate.
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Welcome aboard.  
  
Bienvenid@s a bordo.
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Welcome aboard.  
  
  
===El diseño es emocional.===
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===Design is emotional===
Una interfaz es la capa interactiva que hay entre una persona y una maquina: los gestos de nuestros dedos deslizándose por un cristal, para entendernos. Los botones y las iconos. Las interfaces gráficas y tangibles son la parte que podemos ver y tocar de este mundo en el que nos estamos sumergiendo. La interfaz es la superficie de contacto entre los bits (0 y 1), y nuestra voluntad... y es un espacio diseñado.
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An interface is the interactive layer between a person and a machine: the movement of our fingers gliding over a glass surface, for example. Buttons and icons. Graphic and tangible interfaces are the parts that we can see and touch in this world we are immersed in. The interface is the contact surface between the computer bits (0s and 1s) and our wishes... and it is a designed space.  
  
El diseño es emocional, visceral como defiende Donald Norman<ref>Norman, D. A. (2005). Emotional design: why we love (or hate) everyday things. New York: Basic Books.</ref>.
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Design is emotional – visceral, as Donald Norman puts it.<ref>Norman, D. A. (2005). Emotional design: why we love (or hate) everyday things. New York: Basic Books.</ref>.
  
Es curioso ver como el diseño siempre dice algo que apela a los sentimientos: nos gusta o nos molesta, nos parece amable o violento, discreto o descarado, hay veces que dudamos incluso de si hay diseño, que nos parece neutro o invisible, pero es inevitable, esta ahí. El diseño tiene connotaciones, y aunque a veces apela a lo racional o neutro, siempre habla desde lo sensible y perceptivo, siempre evoca sensaciones que nos penetran, a veces sutilmente, otras explícitamente.
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It is curious to note that design always appeals to our feelings: we can like it or it can bother us, it can seem friendly or violent, discreet or rude; sometimes it can even seem that there is no design at all, it seems neutral or invisible. But it is inevitable, it is there. Design has connotations, and although it sometimes presents itself as rational or neutral it always speaks to our senses and perceptions, it always evokes feelings that subtly or explicitly affect us.
  
En la interfaz siempre hay diseño, pues es la estructura y la forma de cualquier cosa con la que nos relacionamos. La interfaz también es inevitable. McLuhan dice que el medio es el mensaje. La interfaz gráfica de usuario (GUI) es hoy el medio para muchos de nuestros mensajes.
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Interfaces always involve design because they are the structure and form of whatever we interact with. Marshall McLuhan said that the medium is the message, and the graphic user interface (GUI) is now the medium for many of our messages.
  
Disciplinas dentro del diseño de interfaces son la usabilidad o el diseño de experiencia de usuario. En este mundo cada vez más repleto de diseño y de interfaces, a menudo se nos ha considerado usuarios, pero esto es bastante discutible. No es una relación asimétrica, somos también habitantes de la red, ciudadanos de una aldea global, creadores y generadores de relación [punto del manifesto]. Como usamos las cosas es como las creamos, cada paso es una decisión. Somos los navegantes. La red existe gracias a nuestra participación, y nuestra participación es amplificada y mediada por las interfaces. De personas como tu y como yo depende si nos convertimos en habitantes de la red o usuarios en la red.
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Interface design includes disciplines such as usability and user experience design. In this world increasingly full of design and of interfaces, we are often considered “users”, but this is an arguable term. It is not an asymmetrical relationship; we are also inhabitants of the net, citizens of a global village, creators and generators of relationships [point for the manifesto]. We create things by using them; each step is a decision. We set the course, we are the navigators. The net exists thanks to our participation, and our participation is enhanced and mediated by interfaces. It is up to people like you and I to decide whether we become inhabitants or users of the net.
  
==Capítulo 2: Fe, drogas y mentiras.==
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==Faith, drugs, and lies==
A medida que pasan los días, se normalizan cada vez más ciertos hábitos. Y se van generando dinámicas nuevas, a menudo a velocidades vertiginosas. A continuación tres textos de tono más literario.
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Over time, certain habits are normalized. And new dynamics are generated, often at vertiginous speeds. Below, three texts in a more literary tone.
  
  
===Cada día rezo y cargo las baterías.===
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===Every day I pray and I recharge my batteries===
Por fin una religión para todos! Omnipotente, omnipresente y sin forma. Oráculos, bits y mucha fe.
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Finally, a religion for all! Omnipotent, omnipresent, and formless. Oracles, bits, and a lot of faith.  
  
Nuevas entidades gestionan la levedad de nuestro ser. Pactamos con ellas un mundo agradable, feliz y libre. Consideramos que no nos lo han impuesto, simplemente las adoramos. Les hacemos donaciones y ofrendas, las defendemos con fe, en nombre del progreso, la libertad y el bienestar y cada día las usamos.
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New entities manage the lightness of our being. With them, we negotiate a world that is pleasant, happy, and free. We don’t think they have imposed it on us, we simply worship them. We make donations and offerings, we faithfully defend them in the name of progress, liberty, and wellbeing, and we use them every day.
  
Una religión de torres de telecomunicaciones en los altares de las ciudades, de pequeños rosarios de botones de colores que llevamos religiosamente en el bolsillo todo el día. Nos guían los nuevos oráculos, los algoritmos de predicción, la estadística y el big data.
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It is a religion of telecommunications towers on the altars of cities, of small rosaries of coloured buttons that we religiously carry in our pockets all day long. We are guided by new oracles, predictive algorithms, statistics, and big data.
  
Seguimos sus postulados: Popularidad, efectividad, productividad, transparencia y muchos gigas. Promete ser la receta para no sentirse perdido.
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We follow its postulates: popularity, effectiveness, productivity, transparency, and lots of gigabytes. A mix that promises we will not feel lost.
  
Los héroes que han intentado remover este delicioso sistema por dentro, han sido perseguidos por los grandes gobiernos. Los herejes, son castigados y expuestos al debate público de los mas media y las redes sociales.
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The heroes who try to stir up this delicious system from within have been persecuted by powerful governments. Heretics are punished, publicly shamed on the mass media and social networks. Because we are the pious believers that, consciously or unconsciously, want the system to work like this. We have to be and wish to be devoured by this new faith.  
Y es que somos los devotos, los que, conscientes o no, queremos que funcione así este sistema. Tememos y deseamos ser devorados por esta nueva fe.
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Jugamos a ser críticos usando las propias herramientas del sistema, gozamos de la ilusión de libertad y de muchas, muchas actualizaciones.
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We play at being critical using the system’s tools, we enjoy the illusion of freedom and of many, many, updates.  
  
Felices, hoy vivimos a través de interfaces y cargamos las baterías todos los días.  
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We are happy, we live through interface, and we charge our batteries every day.  
  
[fragmento del work in progress God(fe)]
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[fragment of the work in progress God(fe)]  
  
===Tomo una nueva droga... iSurf===
 
  
Pertenezco a las grandes corporaciones, ellas son mis proveedores, mis camellos, las necesito, pero sobretodo, las amo!
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===I’m on a new drug... iSurf===
  
Estoy perdido en este mundo postmoderno... pero nací en un entorno analógico. Mis padres probaron el LSD, yo empece con el TCP/IP
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I belong to the big corporations, they are my suppliers, my dealers. I need them, but above all, I love them!
  
Veo a través de pixels, amo a través de interfaces, vivo en la red.
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I’m lost in this postmodern world... but I was born into an analogue environment. My parents tried LSD, I started with TCP/IP.
  
Los limites de mi identidad se han desplazado. Soy un ser representado, ya no peso, ahora soy datos.
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I see through pixels, I love through interfaces, I live on the net.  
  
Y mi ego crece, ya soy más grande que yo mismo, no quepo en mi cuerpo.
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The limits of my identity have shifted. I am a represented being, now I am weightless, now I am data.  
  
No puedo parar de editar mi pasado, subiéndome a mi mismo, actualizando y rellenando nuevos perfiles, compartiendo mi importancia y ocultando mi impotencia.
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My ego grows: I am bigger than myself, I don’t fit in my body.  
  
- Perdóname, mi cuerpo esta vacío, pero te puedo mostrar todos mis avatares -
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I can’t stop editing my past, uploading myself, updating and filling in new profiles, sharing my importance and hiding my impotence.
  
He regalado todos mis datos, perdiendo poco a poco la fe en la libertad. Nunca supe del cierto lo que estaba haciendo.
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- Sorry, my body is empty, but I can show you all my avatars -
  
Estoy tan colocado que puedo actuar sin apenas moverme. Soy un explorador incansable, no puedo parar.
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I have given away all my data, slowly losing my faith in freedom. I was never quite sure what I was doing.  
  
Tomo una nueva droga, Navego.
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I am so high that I can act while barely moving. I am a tireless explorer, I can’t stop.  
  
[fragmento del proyecto iAm http://iam.caotic.net]
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I’m on a new drug... iSurf
  
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[fragment of the project iAm http://iam.caotic.net]
  
===Mentiras===
 
  
En 1984, Apple hizo un mítico anuncio durante la Super Bowl. Presentó un escenario gris, donde los ciudadanos eran sometidos al régimen del Gran Hermano. Por suerte una avispada rubia vestida de forma deportiva, sorteaba los antidisturbios y rompía ese enorme monitor que nos vigilaba a todos. Finalizaba el anuncio con una contundente frase, "El 24 de enero de 1984, Apple Computer presentará Macintosh. Y verás porque 1984 no sera como '1984'".
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===Lies===
  
Presentaban un ordenador domestico, con una interfaz revolucionaria que permitía entender sin tener que entender... Nos encantó. Es el poder que tienen las cosas que funcionan sin tener que pensar mucho. Faltaban 20 años para que Apple fuese una de las mayores empresas del mundo, poniendo en nuestros bolsillos dispositivos de pantallas táctiles, con reconocimiento de huellas digitales, geolocalización y webcams capaces de analizar nuestros gestos faciales.
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In 1984, Apple broadcast a legendary ad during the Super Bowl. It started with a grey set, in which citizens were under the regime of Big Brother. Fortunately, a chirpy blonde young woman dressed in sporty clothes appeared, dodged the anti-riot police, and smashed the huge monitor that watched over us all. The ad concluded with a portentous voiceover: “On January 24th, Apple Computer will present Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like Nineteen Eighty-Four”.  
  
A todos nos gustan las cosas simples, elegantes y fáciles, pero creo que también nos gusta la sinceridad y la honestidad. Incluso me atrevo a aventurar que nos gusta que se nos seduzca o engañe, pero ¿qué estamos dispuestos a sacrificar por ello?
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They were launching a personal computer with a revolutionary interface that allowed users to understand without having to understand... We loved it. That’s the power of things that work without requiring much thought. Twenty years later Apple would become one of the world’s largest companies, filling our pockets with touchscreen devices equipped with fingerprint readers, geolocation and webcams that can analyse our facial expressions.  
  
Hay diseños de interfaces pensadas especialmente para incentivar la interactividad, otras están diseñadas para generar adicción<ref>Grosser, B. (2014). What Do Metrics Want? How Quantification Prescribes Social Interaction on Facebook. Computational Culture: a journal of software studies. Recuperado de http://computationalculture.net/article/what-do-metrics-want
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We all like things that are simple, elegant, and easy to use. But I think that we also like sincerity and honesty. I’d even venture to say that we like to be tricked and seduced, but what are we willing to sacrifice in exchange?  
</ref>, hay herramientas que promueven la libertad, otras el control.
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Faltan más interfaces de autor, interfaces para los perezoso, para los tímidos, para los que no les gusta fardar, para los tranquilos y los lentos, para los extraños y para los radicales, para los pobres y para los espíritus libres.
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HSome interfaces are designed to favour interactivity, while others are designed to generate addiction<ref>Grosser, B. (2014). What Do Metrics Want? How Quantification Prescribes Social Interaction on Facebook. Computational Culture: a journal of software studies. Recuperado de http://computationalculture.net/article/what-do-metrics-want
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</ref>, . Some tools promote freedom, others promote control.  
  
Si el arte sirve para alguna cosa, que sirva para hacernos más sensibles, más cultos y más conscientes: más humanos. No es el diseño, ni la publicidad, ni la tecnología la que nos hará libres, sino personas como tu y como yo.
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We need more singular interfaces; interfaces for people who are lazy, shy, or don’t like to boast; for people who are slow or live quietly; for weirdoes, for radicals, for poor people and for free spirits.  
  
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If art is of any use, it should be used to make us more sensitive, better educated, and more conscious: more human. Design won’t make us free, nor will advertising or technology. Only people like you and I will make us free.
  
==Capítulo 3: Ver el árbol... y el bosque.==
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==Part 3: Seeing the tree... and the forest==
  
Las interfaces gráficas están diseñadas y para comunicar a menudo hacen uso de metáforas en distintos niveles, desde los iconos y símbolos que usan para facilitarnos la interacción, a la composición y orden del espacio hasta la metáfora de fondo de la interfaz. De hecho, no existe ninguna papelera dentro del PC, no te siguen 530 personas, y no has subido nada en ninguna nube, pero evidentemente, estas convenciones nos ayudan a entender ciertos procesos.  
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Graphic interfaces are designed by humans, and they often communicate through metaphors on different levels, from the icons and users that we interact with to the spatial arrangement and order and the basic metaphor of the interface. There is no real recycling bin in your PC, you do not have 530 people following you, and you didn’t save anything on any cloud. But these conventions help us to understand certain processes.  
  
Veremos más adelante como esta aplicación de metáforas a veces es una ventaja y otras puede ser visto como un inconveniente. Sea como sea, es interesante prestar atención a la metáfora. Normalmente una misma herramienta, sistema operativo o plataforma digital sigue una misma metáfora y esto nos suele gustar. Por ejemplo el famoso editor de imágenes de bitmaps, llamado Photoshop sigue perfectamente las metáforas de un laboratorio fotográfico (de ahí el nombre de photo shop), pero realmente no se revelan las fotos, ni se retocan con pinceles, ni se usan máscaras. Se usa computación. Pero tiene sentido para nosotros. ¿Qué efecto tiene la metáfora del laboratorio de fotografía para los pintores que optan por usar Photoshop para hacer sus obras? Encuentran a su alcance posibilidades nuevas, como alterar el brillo y contraste, pero a lo mejor echan en falta una paleta más intuitiva (al modo de los pintores) para mezclar sus pigmentos. Bertelsen y Pold comentan, en un interesante artículo<ref>Bertelsen, O. W., & Pold, S. (2004). Criticism as an approach to interface aesthetics. En Proceedings of the third Nordic conference on Human-computer interaction (p. 23–32). ACM Press.
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As we will see below, this use of metaphors is sometimes an advantage and sometimes a nuisance. In any case, it is worth paying attention to the layer of metaphor. A particular tool, operating system, or digital platform usually follows a single metaphor, and we are usually happy about this. For example, the famous bitmap image editing software called Photoshop is based on the metaphor of a photo lab (hence its name), but users don’t really develop photographs, or retouch with paintbrushes, or use masks. It is all computing. But it makes sense to us. How does the photo lab metaphor affect painters who choose to use Photoshop to create their works? They find they can access new options such as adjusting brightness and contrast, but perhaps they miss having a more intuitive palette (as in traditional painting) for mixing their pigments. In an interesting article<ref>Bertelsen, O. W., & Pold, S. (2004). Criticism as an approach to interface aesthetics. En Proceedings of the third Nordic conference on Human-computer interaction (p. 23–32). ACM Press.
</ref>, el peso que puede estar teniendo en la cultura contemporánea el echo que escritores de poesías, canciones, cuentos y en definitiva escritura creativa, se encuentren con una herramienta que sigue la metáfora de la oficina, de la empresa y de la productividad, el popular Microsoft Office. Técnicamente añadir la función de encontrar rimas, o añadir anotaciones musicales, o escribir siguiendo una linea que no sea uniformemente recta, es factible, pero no cabe dentro de la idea del trabajo de oficina. ¿Como afecta esto a su forma de escribir?
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</ref> Olav Bertelsen and Soren Pold discuss the possible cultural consequences of the fact that contemporary writers of poetry, songs, stories, and creative writing in general find themselves using a tool – the ubiquitous Microsoft Office – that follows the metaphor of an office, the business world, and productivity. It is technically feasible to add a function to suggest rhymes, or musical notation, or to write along a line that is not uniformly straight, but it does not fit into the idea of office work. How does this affect the way you write?  
  
Este texto es una invitación a reflexionar por un momento que herramientas usamos, y que metáforas usan estas. De la observación surge la capacidad de abstracción, la capacidad de comparación y la comprensión de muchas cosas cruciales para saber sobrevivir en un bosque repleto de pantallas, cables y animales varios. Fijarse en este nuevo paisaje nos ayuda a disfrutar más de esta aventura, y a ver el árbol, pero también el bosque.
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This text is an invitation to pause and think about the tools we use, and about the metaphors they are based on. Observation activates our capacity for abstract thoughts, to make comparisons, and to understand many things that are crucial for surviving in a forest of screens, cables, and creatures of all kinds. By paying attention to this new landscape we will be able to enjoy the adventure, and to see the tree, but also the forest.  
  
===¿Peleamos o bailamos?===
 
  
Darnos cuenta de las metáforas que usamos a diario es cruciales para entender dónde jugamos y cuáles son las normas de juego. George Lakoff y Mark Johnson ponían de manifiesto cosas que aparentemente son obvias, pero que observadas con perspectiva nos iluminan y nos permiten entender mejor nuestras propias reacciones. En su libro "Metáforas de la vida cotidiana"<ref>Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (2003). Metaphors We Live By (2nd edition). Chicago: University Of Chicago Press</ref> explican, entre otras cosas, como "conversar" en ciertas culturas sigue metáforas de combate, pues ganamos un argumento, preparamos una estrategia de comunicación o simplemente dejamos al otro sin argumentos. Son metáforas ciertamente útiles, pero no son las únicas metáforas que podrían funcionar. ¿Que pasaría si la metáfora imperante fuese bailar? ¿Armonizaríamos opiniones? ¿discutiríamos a buen ritmo? ¿hablaríamos imitándonos o alternando los tonos? Sea como sea, queda claro que el poder de la metáfora afecta nuestra forma de interactuar, pero que no siempre la tenemos presente.
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===Fight or dance?===
  
A medida que las interfaces se normalizan en nuestro día a día, aparecen más y más metáforas que, conscientemente o no, determinan nuestra forma de habitar la red y de relacionarnos.
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If we want to understand the playing field and the rules of the game, we need to be aware of the metaphors we use every day. George Lakoff and Mark Johnson write about things that are seemingly obvious but can enlighten us and offer us an insight into our own reactions if we look at them from a different perspective. Their book ''Metaphors We Live By''<ref>Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (2003). Metaphors We Live By (2nd edition). Chicago: University Of Chicago Press</ref> describes, among other things, how “conversation” in some cultures follows metaphors of war: we win an argument, we prepare a communication strategy, or we force the other party to give up their position. These metaphors are useful of course, but they are not the only ones that would work. What if the prevailing metaphor were dance? Would we harmonize opinions? Would we discuss at a pleasing rhythm? Would we imitate or alternate each others’ tones? What seems clear is that the power of metaphors affects the way we interact, but we are not always aware of them.  
  
===Interfaces de autor===
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As interfaces are normalized in our everyday lives, more and more metaphors appear and consciously or unconsciously influence the way we inhabit the net and interact with each other.
Janet Murray, explica en "Inventing the Medium: Principles Of Interaction Design As A Cultural Practice"<ref>Murray, J. H. (2011). Inventing the Medium: Principles of Interaction Design as a Cultural Practice. The MIT Press.</ref> la importancia por parte de los diseñadores de tener en cuenta que la red no es simplemente un contenedor donde trasladar cosas del mundo real. En la red nuevas formas de hacer emergen y no es necesario usar metáforas de otro entorno. Es evidente que puede ser práctico para facilitar a usuarios novatos entender ciertas cosas. De ahí el éxito y propagación de la metáfora del escritorio y su papelera popularizada por Apple el 1984, pero, ¿es la metáfora del escritorio exhaustiva? ¿Acaso no hay cosas que se hacen con el ordenador que no se pueden hacer desde un escritorio real? y más interesante aún: ¿los usuarios de 1984 no sabían que se podía hacer con un computador, pero saben los usuarios de 2014 como funciona un archivador de oficina? Según Murray, en este nuevo entorno, se tiene que diseñar usando metáforas propias del medio, para evitar empobrecerlo o mal interpretarlo. Si históricamente es indiscutible la importancia de ciertas metáforas, también es importante empezar a tener una mirada crítica hacia estas y iniciar un proceso más maduro de análisis, creación y uso de interfaces que usen metáforas más apropiadas y fidedignas.
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===Singular interfaces===
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In ''Inventing the Medium: Principles of Interaction Design as a Cultural Practice''<ref>Murray, J. H. (2011). Inventing the Medium: Principles of Interaction Design as a Cultural Practice. The MIT Press.</ref> Janet Murray argues that it is important for designers to bear in mind that the net is not simply a container in which to automatically place things from the real world. New ways of doing things emerge on the net, and there is no need to use metaphors from other contexts. This use of familiar metaphors can obviously be a practical way of helping novices to understand certain things. Hence the success and propagation of the desktop metaphor with its recycle bin popularised by Apple in 1984. But is the desktop metaphor exhaustive? Don’t we do things with our computers that we couldn’t do from a real desktop? And even more interestingly: users in 1984 didn’t know what a computer could do, but do 2014 users know how a filing cabinet in a real office works? Murray claims that designers working in this new environment should use the metaphors of the medium, in order to avoid impoverishing or misinterpreting it.
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If we look at the evolution of interfaces we see that there have been many different kinds in the early years. We were learning to create them, testing them, and making discoveries. It was quite eclectic. But over the last two decades interfaces have been unified and homogenised, and at the same time there has been a boom in apps and markets. As John Maeda wrote, the new craftsmen of 2020<ref>Maeda, J. (s.d.). Your Life In 2020. Recuperado el 21 de abril 2015, de http://www.forbes.com/2010/04/08/john-maeda-design-technology-data-companies-10- keynote.html</ref> will be subtle, painstaking programmers who will create original interfaces. Let us defend these singular interfaces that use innovative metaphors, that don’t follow the masses, that question the interface from the position of the interface itself. We want open interfaces-in-progress, interfaces made for and by left-handed users, interfaces that allow us to go in different directions: in short, interfaces that enrich us.  
  
Observando la evolución histórica de las interfaces, existieron muchas interfaces distintas, estábamos aprendiendo a crearlas, las estábamos probando y descubriendo, era bastante ecléctico. En las últimas dos décadas, pero, se han ido unificando y homogeneizando y a su vez ha habido un boom de las apps y los markets. Según Maeda, en 2020<ref>Maeda, J. (s.d.). Your Life In 2020. Recuperado el 21 de abril 2015, de http://www.forbes.com/2010/04/08/john-maeda-design-technology-data-companies-10- keynote.html</ref> los nuevos artesanos serán programadores delicados y cuidadosos que harán interfaces de autor. Reivindiquemos las interfaces de autor, las que usan metáforas innovadoras, las que no siguen la masa, las que desde la propia interfaz abren preguntas hacia la interfaz, interfaces abiertas y en construcción, interfaces echas por y para zurdos, interfaces muy útiles para ir en direcciones distintas, en definitiva, interfaces enriquecedoras.
 
  
 
===Code is poetry===
 
===Code is poetry===
  
Ya de pequeños nos preguntaban si seriamos más de ciencias o de letras. Nunca lo llegué a entender. La métrica de la poesía es matemática. La belleza estética de las reacciones químicas es indiscutible. No existe lógica sin poética o discurso, y no existe discurso sin estructuras. A lo mejor, nos preguntaban en el fondo, si nos gustaba más avanzar desde la lógica o desde la intuición, pero realmente ¿tenemos que elegir?
+
Adults often ask young children whether they prefer arts or sciences. I could never see the point. The meter of poetry is pure maths. The aesthetic beauty of chemical reactions is beyond doubt. Logic cannot exist without poetics or discourse, and discourse cannot exist without a structure. Perhaps what they were really asking us is whether we prefer to rely on logic or intuition. But do we really have to choose?  
  
En 1996 John Maeda abrió en el MIT Media Laboratory un departamento llamado Aesthethics + Computation Research Group. En ese contexto desarrolló un software que contra todo pronostico quería escapar de los iconos! Era el programa Design By Numbers. Parecía poco apropiado para los artistas y gente creativa, pero su objetivo era demostrar exactamente lo contrario. Maeda proponía escapar de las metáforas de escritorio especialmente popularizadas por Apple el 1984 y usadas hoy por la mayoría de softwares. Pretendía revelar "la belleza estética y el poder de la computación (y las matemáticas) a artistas y diseñadores"<ref>Greenberg, I. (2008). Processing: Creative Coding and Computational Art (1st 2008 Corr. printing 2008 edition). Berkeley, CA : New York: Apress.</ref> ya que el "código no es puramente abstracto ni matemático; tiene significación social, política y dimensiones estéticas"<ref>Montfort, N., Baudoin, P., Bell, J., Bogost, I., Douglass, J., Marino, M. C., ... Vawter, N. (2012). 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press.</ref>
+
In 1996, John Maeda opened a new department called the Aesthetics + Computation Research Group at MIT Media Laboratory, where he developed a programme that against all odds tried to escape from icons! It was a called Design By Numbers. It appeared unsuitable for artists and creative people, but its aim was to prove the opposite. Maeda was trying to get away from the desktop metaphors popularized by Apple in 1984 and still used today by most software. He wanted to “reveal the aesthetic beauty and power of computation (and math) to artists and designers”<ref>Greenberg, I. (2008). Processing: Creative Coding and Computational Art (1st 2008 Corr. printing 2008 edition). Berkeley, CA : New York: Apress.</ref> given that “code is not purely abstract and mathematical; it has significant social, political, and aesthetic dimensions”.<ref>Montfort, N., Baudoin, P., Bell, J., Bogost, I., Douglass, J., Marino, M. C., ... Vawter, N. (2012). 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press.</ref>
  
El código es poesía, es cultura y es un lenguaje lógico, pero también es subjetivo y cultural. Usar código en lugar de iconos nos permite articular muchas más posibilidades y escapar, un poco, del peso de las metáforas visuales. Seguramente lo más inteligente es saber usar las dos, interfaces gráficas y interfaces textuales, en su adecuada medida.
+
Code is poetry and culture. It is a logical language, but also subjective and cultural. By using code instead of icons we can combine many more possibilities and lessen the burden of visual metaphor. The smartest approach is probably to learn to use both graphic and text-based interfaces, in the just measure.  
  
===Nadie nos dijo que había más botones.===
+
===Nobody told us there were more buttons===
  
¿Quién escribe el código y desde qué cultura? Explica Manovich<ref>Manovich, L. (2002). The Language of New Media (Reprint edition). Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press.</ref> que a partir de los noventa, los ordenadores pasan de ser herramientas específicas (calculadora, editor de textos, editor de fotos, etc) a ser un filtro cultural, a ser progresivamente un modo de relacionarnos, de crear, de pensar, de vivir.
+
Who writes code? Based on what cultural assumptions? Manovich<ref>Manovich, L. (2002). The Language of New Media (Reprint edition). Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press.</ref> writes that in the nineties computers went from being specific tools (calculator, text editor, photo editor, and so on) to a cultural filter, and gradually become a way of interacting, creating, thinking, and living.  
  
Así pues, tengamos en cuenta que las interfaces están diseñadas con metáforas, que el diseño tiene carga emocional y que la metáfora responde a códigos culturales. Que hoy vivimos con múltiples dispositivos y a través de sus interfaces. Son tan poderosos psicológicamente estos dispositivos y sus interfaces, dice Sherry Turkle, que no solo nos ayudan a hacer cosas, sino que también nos transforman.
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So we should bear in mind that interfaces are designed with metaphors, that design has emotional baggage, and that metaphor always reflects cultural codes. That we now live with numerous devices, and through their interfaces. These devices and their interfaces are so psychologically powerful, says Sherry Turkle, that they not only help us to do things, they also transform us.  
  
Cada vez más gente desde perspectivas muy distintas se interesa por estos temas, pues están configurando nuestro presente y nuestro futuro.
+
More and more people are taking an interest in these ideas from very different perspectives, because they are shaping our present and our future.  
  
Coger consciencia de lo diseñado, simplemente observándolo, preguntarnos que pasaría si fuese distinto, si fuese pensado desde otra cultura u otro paradigma, nos ayuda directamente a ser más conscientes y más libres. Podemos seguir gozando de la experiencia de vivir en la red y aceptar el juego, pero, como diría mi madre, elige bien con quien te juntas ;)
+
Becoming aware of what lies behind design, just by looking and asking ourselves what would happen if it were different, if it were based on a different culture or paradigm, will help us to be freer and more conscious. We can continue to enjoy the experience of living online and accept the game, but, as my mother would say, choose your friends carefully ;)
  
Hay un mar de botones y de formas de hacer. ¿Cómo diseñar para hacernos más humanos, menos adictos, más nobles y más tranquilos? Como habitantes y como diseñadores, esta en nuestras manos determinar la calidad y la evolución de este nuevo entorno.
+
There are oceans of buttons and ways of doing things. How can we design interfaces that make us more human, less addicted, nobler, and calmer? As inhabitants and designers, it’s up to us to determine the quality and evolution of this new environment.  
  
  
  
 
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Revision as of 14:27, 26 November 2015

Reflexions for Deciding to Go Under, or Nobody Told Us There Were More Buttons

Part 1: We are living in a realized virtuality, and we travel through interfaces

We are part of the first generations to embark on this fascinating adventure. We have enjoyed the privilege of being among the first users to experience, discover and inhabit the net. And many people have euphorically praised this revolution.

n1996, for instance, Sherry Turkle gave a TED talk to launch her new book, and she was soon on the cover of Wired Magazine[1] praising the virtual world’s power to develop our personalities and social capacities [2] It is surprising to see how quickly we have made the change. My parents met in an analogical world, with no mobiles or internet. Now, meeting somebody involves seeing their profile, following them, and sniffing out their traces on the net. The fact that we can access all this information, that we have overcome the limits of distance through telecommunications, and achieved immediacy of communication from almost anywhere in the world, has changed who we are and how we behave. We have huge amounts of information at our fingertips, and we increasingly rely on the recommendations of algorithms and software systems. In fact, if my parents had met today, the role of cupid would probably have been played by an algorithm capable of predicting a high level of compatibility between them. But as Sherry Turkle wrote in 2012, the quality of their relationship by this time would probably be so mediated by short messages, fragmentation, technology, and the “lack” of time, that their capacity to empathise may have been compromised. Sixteen years later, Turkle’s discourse had turned around, and she now warns that younger generations are losing certain social skills. Sure we want to be connected, but just enough to feel that we are not wasting time or risking too much. I wonder whether I would even have been born in this scenario.

We have moved from a tangible, solid, physical environment to a much more fragmented and flexible environment based on information. Multitasking is in fashion, sharing is in fashion, being popular is in fashion. We are enjoying a time of intense interaction between humans and machines. And it all happens through human-designed interfaces.

This text reflects on certain aspects that can help us to avoid floundering and going under, or at least think about how to take them helm and generate a bit of debate. Welcome aboard.

Welcome aboard.


Design is emotional

An interface is the interactive layer between a person and a machine: the movement of our fingers gliding over a glass surface, for example. Buttons and icons. Graphic and tangible interfaces are the parts that we can see and touch in this world we are immersed in. The interface is the contact surface between the computer bits (0s and 1s) and our wishes... and it is a designed space.

Design is emotional – visceral, as Donald Norman puts it.[3].

It is curious to note that design always appeals to our feelings: we can like it or it can bother us, it can seem friendly or violent, discreet or rude; sometimes it can even seem that there is no design at all, it seems neutral or invisible. But it is inevitable, it is there. Design has connotations, and although it sometimes presents itself as rational or neutral it always speaks to our senses and perceptions, it always evokes feelings that subtly or explicitly affect us.

Interfaces always involve design because they are the structure and form of whatever we interact with. Marshall McLuhan said that the medium is the message, and the graphic user interface (GUI) is now the medium for many of our messages.

Interface design includes disciplines such as usability and user experience design. In this world increasingly full of design and of interfaces, we are often considered “users”, but this is an arguable term. It is not an asymmetrical relationship; we are also inhabitants of the net, citizens of a global village, creators and generators of relationships [point for the manifesto]. We create things by using them; each step is a decision. We set the course, we are the navigators. The net exists thanks to our participation, and our participation is enhanced and mediated by interfaces. It is up to people like you and I to decide whether we become inhabitants or users of the net.

Faith, drugs, and lies

Over time, certain habits are normalized. And new dynamics are generated, often at vertiginous speeds. Below, three texts in a more literary tone.


Every day I pray and I recharge my batteries

Finally, a religion for all! Omnipotent, omnipresent, and formless. Oracles, bits, and a lot of faith.

New entities manage the lightness of our being. With them, we negotiate a world that is pleasant, happy, and free. We don’t think they have imposed it on us, we simply worship them. We make donations and offerings, we faithfully defend them in the name of progress, liberty, and wellbeing, and we use them every day.

It is a religion of telecommunications towers on the altars of cities, of small rosaries of coloured buttons that we religiously carry in our pockets all day long. We are guided by new oracles, predictive algorithms, statistics, and big data.

We follow its postulates: popularity, effectiveness, productivity, transparency, and lots of gigabytes. A mix that promises we will not feel lost.

The heroes who try to stir up this delicious system from within have been persecuted by powerful governments. Heretics are punished, publicly shamed on the mass media and social networks. Because we are the pious believers that, consciously or unconsciously, want the system to work like this. We have to be and wish to be devoured by this new faith.

We play at being critical using the system’s tools, we enjoy the illusion of freedom and of many, many, updates.

We are happy, we live through interface, and we charge our batteries every day.

[fragment of the work in progress God(fe)]


I’m on a new drug... iSurf

I belong to the big corporations, they are my suppliers, my dealers. I need them, but above all, I love them!

I’m lost in this postmodern world... but I was born into an analogue environment. My parents tried LSD, I started with TCP/IP.

I see through pixels, I love through interfaces, I live on the net.

The limits of my identity have shifted. I am a represented being, now I am weightless, now I am data.

My ego grows: I am bigger than myself, I don’t fit in my body.

I can’t stop editing my past, uploading myself, updating and filling in new profiles, sharing my importance and hiding my impotence.

- Sorry, my body is empty, but I can show you all my avatars -

I have given away all my data, slowly losing my faith in freedom. I was never quite sure what I was doing.

I am so high that I can act while barely moving. I am a tireless explorer, I can’t stop.

I’m on a new drug... iSurf

[fragment of the project iAm http://iam.caotic.net]


Lies

In 1984, Apple broadcast a legendary ad during the Super Bowl. It started with a grey set, in which citizens were under the regime of Big Brother. Fortunately, a chirpy blonde young woman dressed in sporty clothes appeared, dodged the anti-riot police, and smashed the huge monitor that watched over us all. The ad concluded with a portentous voiceover: “On January 24th, Apple Computer will present Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like Nineteen Eighty-Four”.

They were launching a personal computer with a revolutionary interface that allowed users to understand without having to understand... We loved it. That’s the power of things that work without requiring much thought. Twenty years later Apple would become one of the world’s largest companies, filling our pockets with touchscreen devices equipped with fingerprint readers, geolocation and webcams that can analyse our facial expressions.

We all like things that are simple, elegant, and easy to use. But I think that we also like sincerity and honesty. I’d even venture to say that we like to be tricked and seduced, but what are we willing to sacrifice in exchange?

HSome interfaces are designed to favour interactivity, while others are designed to generate addiction[4], . Some tools promote freedom, others promote control.

We need more singular interfaces; interfaces for people who are lazy, shy, or don’t like to boast; for people who are slow or live quietly; for weirdoes, for radicals, for poor people and for free spirits.

If art is of any use, it should be used to make us more sensitive, better educated, and more conscious: more human. Design won’t make us free, nor will advertising or technology. Only people like you and I will make us free.

Part 3: Seeing the tree... and the forest

Graphic interfaces are designed by humans, and they often communicate through metaphors on different levels, from the icons and users that we interact with to the spatial arrangement and order and the basic metaphor of the interface. There is no real recycling bin in your PC, you do not have 530 people following you, and you didn’t save anything on any cloud. But these conventions help us to understand certain processes.

As we will see below, this use of metaphors is sometimes an advantage and sometimes a nuisance. In any case, it is worth paying attention to the layer of metaphor. A particular tool, operating system, or digital platform usually follows a single metaphor, and we are usually happy about this. For example, the famous bitmap image editing software called Photoshop is based on the metaphor of a photo lab (hence its name), but users don’t really develop photographs, or retouch with paintbrushes, or use masks. It is all computing. But it makes sense to us. How does the photo lab metaphor affect painters who choose to use Photoshop to create their works? They find they can access new options such as adjusting brightness and contrast, but perhaps they miss having a more intuitive palette (as in traditional painting) for mixing their pigments. In an interesting article[5] Olav Bertelsen and Soren Pold discuss the possible cultural consequences of the fact that contemporary writers of poetry, songs, stories, and creative writing in general find themselves using a tool – the ubiquitous Microsoft Office – that follows the metaphor of an office, the business world, and productivity. It is technically feasible to add a function to suggest rhymes, or musical notation, or to write along a line that is not uniformly straight, but it does not fit into the idea of office work. How does this affect the way you write?

This text is an invitation to pause and think about the tools we use, and about the metaphors they are based on. Observation activates our capacity for abstract thoughts, to make comparisons, and to understand many things that are crucial for surviving in a forest of screens, cables, and creatures of all kinds. By paying attention to this new landscape we will be able to enjoy the adventure, and to see the tree, but also the forest.


Fight or dance?

If we want to understand the playing field and the rules of the game, we need to be aware of the metaphors we use every day. George Lakoff and Mark Johnson write about things that are seemingly obvious but can enlighten us and offer us an insight into our own reactions if we look at them from a different perspective. Their book Metaphors We Live By[6] describes, among other things, how “conversation” in some cultures follows metaphors of war: we win an argument, we prepare a communication strategy, or we force the other party to give up their position. These metaphors are useful of course, but they are not the only ones that would work. What if the prevailing metaphor were dance? Would we harmonize opinions? Would we discuss at a pleasing rhythm? Would we imitate or alternate each others’ tones? What seems clear is that the power of metaphors affects the way we interact, but we are not always aware of them.

As interfaces are normalized in our everyday lives, more and more metaphors appear and consciously or unconsciously influence the way we inhabit the net and interact with each other.

Singular interfaces

In Inventing the Medium: Principles of Interaction Design as a Cultural Practice[7] Janet Murray argues that it is important for designers to bear in mind that the net is not simply a container in which to automatically place things from the real world. New ways of doing things emerge on the net, and there is no need to use metaphors from other contexts. This use of familiar metaphors can obviously be a practical way of helping novices to understand certain things. Hence the success and propagation of the desktop metaphor with its recycle bin popularised by Apple in 1984. But is the desktop metaphor exhaustive? Don’t we do things with our computers that we couldn’t do from a real desktop? And even more interestingly: users in 1984 didn’t know what a computer could do, but do 2014 users know how a filing cabinet in a real office works? Murray claims that designers working in this new environment should use the metaphors of the medium, in order to avoid impoverishing or misinterpreting it.

If we look at the evolution of interfaces we see that there have been many different kinds in the early years. We were learning to create them, testing them, and making discoveries. It was quite eclectic. But over the last two decades interfaces have been unified and homogenised, and at the same time there has been a boom in apps and markets. As John Maeda wrote, the new craftsmen of 2020[8] will be subtle, painstaking programmers who will create original interfaces. Let us defend these singular interfaces that use innovative metaphors, that don’t follow the masses, that question the interface from the position of the interface itself. We want open interfaces-in-progress, interfaces made for and by left-handed users, interfaces that allow us to go in different directions: in short, interfaces that enrich us.


Code is poetry

Adults often ask young children whether they prefer arts or sciences. I could never see the point. The meter of poetry is pure maths. The aesthetic beauty of chemical reactions is beyond doubt. Logic cannot exist without poetics or discourse, and discourse cannot exist without a structure. Perhaps what they were really asking us is whether we prefer to rely on logic or intuition. But do we really have to choose?

In 1996, John Maeda opened a new department called the Aesthetics + Computation Research Group at MIT Media Laboratory, where he developed a programme that against all odds tried to escape from icons! It was a called Design By Numbers. It appeared unsuitable for artists and creative people, but its aim was to prove the opposite. Maeda was trying to get away from the desktop metaphors popularized by Apple in 1984 and still used today by most software. He wanted to “reveal the aesthetic beauty and power of computation (and math) to artists and designers”[9] given that “code is not purely abstract and mathematical; it has significant social, political, and aesthetic dimensions”.[10]

Code is poetry and culture. It is a logical language, but also subjective and cultural. By using code instead of icons we can combine many more possibilities and lessen the burden of visual metaphor. The smartest approach is probably to learn to use both graphic and text-based interfaces, in the just measure.

Nobody told us there were more buttons

Who writes code? Based on what cultural assumptions? Manovich[11] writes that in the nineties computers went from being specific tools (calculator, text editor, photo editor, and so on) to a cultural filter, and gradually become a way of interacting, creating, thinking, and living.

So we should bear in mind that interfaces are designed with metaphors, that design has emotional baggage, and that metaphor always reflects cultural codes. That we now live with numerous devices, and through their interfaces. These devices and their interfaces are so psychologically powerful, says Sherry Turkle, that they not only help us to do things, they also transform us.

More and more people are taking an interest in these ideas from very different perspectives, because they are shaping our present and our future.

Becoming aware of what lies behind design, just by looking and asking ourselves what would happen if it were different, if it were based on a different culture or paradigm, will help us to be freer and more conscious. We can continue to enjoy the experience of living online and accept the game, but, as my mother would say, choose your friends carefully ;)

There are oceans of buttons and ways of doing things. How can we design interfaces that make us more human, less addicted, nobler, and calmer? As inhabitants and designers, it’s up to us to determine the quality and evolution of this new environment.


  1. McCorduck, P. (s.d.). Wired 4.04: Sex, Lies and Avatars. Recuperat 11 maig 2015, de http://archive.wired.com/wired/archive/4.04/turkle.html
  2. Turkle, S. (1997). Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet (Reprint edition). New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
  3. Norman, D. A. (2005). Emotional design: why we love (or hate) everyday things. New York: Basic Books.
  4. Grosser, B. (2014). What Do Metrics Want? How Quantification Prescribes Social Interaction on Facebook. Computational Culture: a journal of software studies. Recuperado de http://computationalculture.net/article/what-do-metrics-want
  5. Bertelsen, O. W., & Pold, S. (2004). Criticism as an approach to interface aesthetics. En Proceedings of the third Nordic conference on Human-computer interaction (p. 23–32). ACM Press.
  6. Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (2003). Metaphors We Live By (2nd edition). Chicago: University Of Chicago Press
  7. Murray, J. H. (2011). Inventing the Medium: Principles of Interaction Design as a Cultural Practice. The MIT Press.
  8. Maeda, J. (s.d.). Your Life In 2020. Recuperado el 21 de abril 2015, de http://www.forbes.com/2010/04/08/john-maeda-design-technology-data-companies-10- keynote.html
  9. Greenberg, I. (2008). Processing: Creative Coding and Computational Art (1st 2008 Corr. printing 2008 edition). Berkeley, CA : New York: Apress.
  10. Montfort, N., Baudoin, P., Bell, J., Bogost, I., Douglass, J., Marino, M. C., ... Vawter, N. (2012). 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press.
  11. Manovich, L. (2002). The Language of New Media (Reprint edition). Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press.