Difference between revisions of "Trazas, rastros y restos de gestos: notas de navegación en el diseño de interficies en el entorno digital. Por Tere Badia"

From interfacemanifesto
Jump to: navigation, search
(El guión: definir una línea de partida, conocida como la línea base, y determinar la longitud y latitud de sus extremos.)
Line 1: Line 1:
 +
Interfaces are not neutral tools. User and performativity theories are embedded in the design of these artefacts, and identifying some of the factors that these theories are based on allows us to detect tactical and technical design choices, and to examine the potential and limits of their implementation and of our behaviour. In view of this, and recognising that this is just one fragment of the prism of this manifesto, this text suggests four coordinates to bear in mind while reading this map: script, domestication, performativity, and usability.
  
Los interfaces no son herramientas neutrales. El diseño de estos artefactos lleva incorporado la teoría sobre el usuario y su performatividad. E identificar algunos de los factores desde los que se construyen estas teorías es una de las formas de detectar las opciones tácticas y técnicas de se diseño, y desde e son las posibilidades y límites tanto de su implementación como de nuestra comportamiento. Para ello, y en la conciencia que este es tan solo un fragmento que compone el prisma de ese manifiesto, se proponen cuatro coordenadas a tener en cuenta en la lectura de esta cartografía: el guión, la domesticación, la performatividad y la usabilidad.
+
===The script: Define a starting line, known as the base line, and determine its longitude and latitude at each end.===
 
+
===El guión: definir una línea de partida, conocida como la línea base, y determinar la longitud y latitud de sus extremos.===
+
 
[[File:Example.jpg]]
 
[[File:Example.jpg]]
 
[[File:T0390S14_F3.gif]]
 
[[File:T0390S14_F3.gif]]
  
Fig: El principio de triangulación. (Según A.N. Strahler, 1963)<ref>Las imágenes de este texto están extraidas de http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/t0390s/t0390s04.htm</ref>
+
Fig: The principle of triangulation. (As per A. N. Strahler, 1963)<ref>The images in this text are sourced from http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/t0390s/t0390s04.htm</ref>
  
El concepto de “script” o guión es la base desde la que se estructura el análisis de estos artefactos.“El concepto de script puede situarse en la tradición de la teoría constructivista en la cual la tecnología es analizada como texto (Woolgar 1991; Latour 1988). De acuerdo con Lisbeth van Zoonen, el concepto de script es similar conceptualmente al concepto de “audiencias implicadas” -proveniente de los estudios de la comunicación- en el que los usuarios que están presupuestos en un texto son significantes (Zoonen 2000). Anne-Jorunn Berg sugiere que los estudios de media son el origen de la utilización de los conceptos de “codificación” para describir la actividad del escritor, y de “decodificación” para describir la del usuario. Todos estos conceptos están tratando de realizar una conexión entre los diseñadores (autores) y los usuarios (lectores) en el que la tecnología (texto) tiene una función crucial en la relación” (Els Rommes, 2002, 15)<ref>Els Rommes, “Gender scripts and the Internet”. Twente University Press, Enschede, 2002.</ref>
+
The script is the basic concept that underpins the study of these artefacts. The notion of the script can be read within constructivist theory, in which technology is analysed as text (Woolgar 1991; Latour 1988). According to Liesbet van Zoonen, the idea of the script is conceptually similar to the concept of “audience involvement” in communication studies, in which presupposed users in a text are signifiers (Zoonen 2000). Anne-Jorunn Berg suggests that the use of the concepts of “coding” to describe the activity of the writer, and “decoding” to describe that of the user originated in the field of media studies. All of these concepts set up a connection between designers (authors) and users (readers) in which the technology (text) plays a crucial role (Els Rommes, 2002, 15).<ref>Els Rommes, “Gender scripts and the Internet”. Twente University Press, Enschede, 2002.</ref>
  
El guión de una tecnología es definido como las asunciones por parte del programador acerca de los usos y de los futuros usuarios de los artefactos. Estas asunciones se materializan en la tecnología y predeterminan el diseño y la aplicación de esa tecnología. Como sugiere Akrich <ref>Citada por Els Rommes, Op.Cit. , 15. </ref>, en el proceso de diseño de cualquier tecnología “los creadores están interesados en sus futuros usuarios desde el primer momento. Construyen diversas representaciones de esos usuarios y objetivizan esas representaciones en sus decisiones tecnológicas”. De esta manera los diseñadores ‘inscriben’ en la tecnología los perfiles de sus futuros usuarios en forma de scripts que atribuyen a la vez que delegan en los usuarios competencias específicas y acciones determinadas, prescribiendo lo que los actores se suponen que van a hacer -lo que van a poder hacer- para conseguir que esa tecnología funcione.
+
The script for a particular technology consists of the assumptions that the programmer makes about the users and future users of an artefact. These assumptions crystallise in the technology and predetermine the design and use of that technology. As Madeleine Akrich <ref>Quoted by Els Rommes, Op.Cit. , 15. </ref>, suggests, in the design process for any technology “innovators are from the very start constantly interested in their future users. They construct many different representations of these users, and objectify these representations in technological choices.” Designers inscribe the profiles of future users within the technology in the form of scripts that both attribute and delegate to users specific competences and actions, prescribing what actors are supposedly going to do – what they will be able to do – in order to make that technology work.
  
El origen del concepto de ‘script’ de Akrich es el proceso de in-scripción <ref>Callon define más claramente esta inscripción como la traducción de los propios intereses de programador en una forma material. </ref>: “Los diseñadores definen a los actores con tareas específicas, competencias, motivos, aspiraciones, prejuicios políticos y demás, y asumen que moralidad, tecnología, sociedad y economía evolucionaran de determinada manera. (...) Una gran parte del trabajo de estos innovadores es ‘inscribir’ esta visión (o predicción) del mundo en el contenido técnico de cualquier nuevo objeto.(...) Llamaré al producto final ‘script’ o ‘escenario’”. Para identificar y analizar el proceso de inscripción en el artefacto, Akrich propone el proceso contrario: “Es en la confrontación entre los objetos técnicos y sus usuarios que los roles contemplados por el diseñador se demuestran como reales o irreales. (...) Debemos andar y desandar continuamente el camino entre el usuario proyectado por el diseñador y el usuario real, entre el mundo inscrito en el objeto y el mundo descrito por su emplazamiento.(...) De-scripción es el inventario y el análisis de los mecanismos que permiten la relación entre una forma y un significado constituidos por, y constitutivos del, objeto tecnológico para acercarnos a la realidad”.<ref>
+
The origin of Akrich’s concept of a “script” lies in the process of in-scription <ref>Michel Callon defined “inscription” in clearer terms as the translation of the programmer’s interests to a material form. </ref>: “Designers thus define actors with specific tastes, competences, motives, aspirations, political prejudices, and the rest, and they assume that morality, technology, science, and economy will evolve in particular ways. (...) A large part of the work of innovators is that of ‘inscribing’ this vision of (or prediction about) the world in the technical content of the new object. I will call the end product of this work a ‘script’ or a ‘scenario’.” In order to recognize and analyze this process of inscription, Akrich suggests carrying out the opposite process: (...) it is in the confrontation between technical objects and their users that the latter are rendered real or unreal (...) we have to continually go back and forth between the designer and the user, between the designer’s projected user and the real user, between the real world inscribed in the object and the world described by its displacement. Description then becomes the inventory and analysis of the mechanisms that allows the relation between a form and a meaning constituted by and constitutive of the technical object to come into being”.<ref>
 
Akrich, M. “The De-scription of technical objects”. En: Bijker, W.E. & Law, J. (Eds.)” Shaping Technology, Building Society”. London: MIT Press, 1997. 205-224.</ref>
 
Akrich, M. “The De-scription of technical objects”. En: Bijker, W.E. & Law, J. (Eds.)” Shaping Technology, Building Society”. London: MIT Press, 1997. 205-224.</ref>
  
===La domesticación: organizar los conceptos de dirección y distancia de tal forma que pueda establecerse un sistema amplio de relaciones 'naturales'===
+
===Domestication: Organise the concepts of direction and distance so as to enable a broad system of “natural” relationships===
 +
 
 +
Based on a “processual” idea of technology – where the prevailing notion is that technologies are constantly reconstructed and represented in particular constellations – the analysis of the use of these artefacts is grounded in the concept of the appropriation or domestication of the artefact, which is the process by which a technology is accepted, altered, or changes its users. “(...) domestication of ICTs a term which we use to refer to the complex social processes through which objects are taken into and find a place within the home – or are rejected” (Silverstone, 1994).<ref>Leslie Haddon and Roger Silverstone: “The Careers of Information and Communication Technologies in the Home” en “Proceedings of the the International Working Conference on Home Orientated Informatics, Telematics and Automation.” Copenhagen, June 27th-July 1st 1994, </ref>. In these processes, which are not free of political and cultural implications, the notion of domestication affects the different stages of implementation of technological artefacts. Silverstone writes that “domestication is anticipated in design, and design is completed in domestication. (...) both constrain and enable the capacity of consumers to define their own relationship to the technologies that are offered to, or confront, them. These constraints (...) are embodied in design and marketing and in the public definitions of ‘what these technologies can and should be used for’.”<ref>Quoted in Els Rommes, Op.Cit. 214</ref>.
 +
 
 +
Even though focusing on both of these processes – identifying the script inscribed in the artefact on one hand, and detecting the appropriations of the tool by users on the other – is an ideal scenario for a thorough analysis of these technologies in relation to possible transformations of the concept of online identity, here we will focus only on the first, leaving aside the analysis of the impact of users. Nonetheless, we will include the concept of domestication as one of the coordinates for navigation, because, as mentioned above, it offers a lens through which to calibrate the contributions of tools analysed in the discussion around user-centred interfaces.
  
En el análisis de la aplicación de estos artefactos, y partiendo de una perspectiva ‘procesual’ de la tecnología, en donde prevalece la noción que las tecnologías son continuamente re-construidas y representadas en constelaciones concretas, subyace el concepto de apropiación o domesticación del artefacto, que refiere al proceso por el cual una tecnología es aceptada, alterada o cambia a sus usuarios. „Por domesticación nos referimos a procesos sociales complejos a través de los cuales los objetos se introducen y encuentran un lugar en los hogares, o por el contrario son rechazados” (Silverstone, 1994)<ref>Leslie Haddon y Roger Silverstone: “The Careers of Information and Communication Technologies in the Home” en “Proceedings of the the International Working Conference on Home Orientated Informatics, Telematics and Automation.” Copenhagen, June 27th-July 1st 1994, </ref>. Dentro de estos procesos, no exentos de implicaciones políticas y culturales, la noción de domesticación afecta a las diversas fases de implementación de los artefactos tecnológicos. Para Silverstone la “domesticación está anticipada en el diseño y el diseño se completa por la domesticación (...) Ambos restringen y alientan la capacidad de los consumidores de definir su propia relación con las tecnologías que se le ofrecen o confrontan. Estas restricciones (...) estan implícitas en el diseño y marketing, y en las definiciones públicas de ‘para qué pueden y deben ser utilizadas estas tecnologías’” <ref>Citado en Els Rommes, Op.Cit. 214</ref>.
+
===Performativity: Unlike topographic maps, marine charts show the heights and depths relative to sea level at all points. For this reason, marine charts use two different levels of reference===
  
A pesar que la atención a ambos procesos -por una parte la identificación del guión inscrito en el artefacto y, por la otra, la detección de las apropiaciones de la herramienta por parte de los usuarios- sería el panorama ideal para un análisis completo de estas tecnologías en relación a posibles transformaciones del concepto de la identidad en línea, aquí nos centraremos en el primero de ellos, obviando el análisis del impacto en los usuarios. No obstante, incluiremos el concepto de domesticación como coordenada de navegación al considerar, como hemos dicho, que es bajo este prisma que puede calibrarse las aportaciones de las herramientas analizadas a la discusión sobre la interfaz desplegada para el usuario.
+
Fig: Relationship between tide surfaces, cartographic datum, and physical characteristics (As per W. D. Forrester, 1983)
  
===Performatividad: al contrario que los mapas topográficos, las cartas marinas tienen que mostrar en cualquier momento alturas y profundidades por encima y por debajo de las superficie del mar. Por ello, las cartas marinas usan dos planos de referencia distintos===
+
One of the premises for navigating an interface is to set up a feedback process with the interface itself, based on the record of the user’s activity, so that his participation, the intensity of his relationships, and the memory of his “logs” (connections) are memorised in an interconnected way. We can use the performativity of the artefact – the data that it records and the value it confers on them – as an indicator for identifying these operating mechanisms, and the discourse that these mechanisms hide in relation to the concept of identity. Performativity here is understood as “the reiterative and citational practice by which discourse produces the effects that it names” (Butler, 1993).<ref>Judith Butler, “Bodies that matter: on the discursive limits of “sex””. Routledge, New York 1993, 2. (Ed. Cast.: “Cuerpos que importan: sobre los límites materiales y discursivos del “sexo”. Paidós, Barcelona 2002) </ref>.
  
Fig: Relación entre superficies de marea, datum cartográficos y características fisicas.(Según W.D. Forrester, 1983)
+
The intimate relationship between discourse and action defended by Butler and other gender theorists was already foreshadowed in the philosophy of Hannah Arendt. “In acting and speaking, men show who they are, reveal actively their unique personal identities and thus make their appearance in the human world, while their physical identities appear without any activity of their own in the unique shape of the body and the sound of the voice. This disclosure of ‘who’ in contradistinction [9] to ‘what’ somebody is (...) is implicit in everything somebody says and does” (Arendt, 1993, 203).<ref>En la traducción castellana de “The Human Condition”, Arendt, 1958.</ref> al “qué” es alguien (...) está implícito en todo lo que ese alguien dice y hace” <ref>Hannah Arendt, “The Human Condition” 1958. Se ha utilizado la edición castellana: “La condición humana”, Paidós, Barcelona 1993, 203.</ref> (Arendt, 1993, 203). From this point of view, “discourse” or “speaking” ceases to be merely informative and communicational. Pervaded by its performativity, functions on the level of the construction of the user.
  
Entre las premisas de la navegación por una interficie está la de iniciar un proceso de retroalimentación de la misma interfaz a partir del registro de la actividad del usuario, de manera que su participación, la intensidad de sus relaciones o la memoria de sus “logs” (conexiones) queden memorizadas de forma interrelacional. La performatividad del artefacto, es decir, los datos que registra y el valor que les concede, nos servirá como indicador para identificar por una parte estos mecanismos de funcionamiento y, por la otra, el discurso que estos mecanismos esconden en relación al concepto de identidad. La performatividad va a ser entendida aquí como “la práctica reiterativa y referencial mediante la cual el discurso produce los efectos que nombra” (Butler, 1993)<ref>Judith Butler, “Bodies that matter: on the discursive limits of “sex””. Routledge, New York 1993, 2. (Ed. Cast.: “Cuerpos que importan: sobre los límites materiales y discursivos del “sexo”. Paidós, Barcelona 2002) </ref>.
+
After determining the script and performativity of a device, we should pay attention to the form it takes – its interface – to discover the type of mediation that the artefact encourages: between the user and technology, and between the user and others.  
  
Esta íntima relación entre discurso y acción defendida por Butler y otras teóricas del género se puede preveer en la filosofía arendtiana. “Mediante la acción y el discurso, los hombres muestran quienes son, revelan activamente su única y personal identidad y hacen aparición en el mundo humano, mientras que su identidad física se presenta bajo la forma única del cuerpo y del sonido de la voz, sin necesidad de ninguna actividad propia. El descubrimiento de “quién” en contradistinción <ref>En la traducción castellana de “The Human Condition”, Arendt, 1958.</ref> al “qué” es alguien (...) está implícito en todo lo que ese alguien dice y hace” <ref>Hannah Arendt, “The Human Condition” 1958. Se ha utilizado la edición castellana: “La condición humana”, Paidós, Barcelona 1993, 203.</ref> (Arendt, 1993, 203). Dentro de esta perspectiva, el “discurso” se aleja de su carácter meramente informativo y comunicativo y se instala, impregnado por su performatividad, en el plano de la contrucción del usuario.
 
  
Una vez establecidos el guión y la performatividad del dispositivo, deberíamos detenernos en la forma que este adquiere, su interficie, para determinar el tipo de mediación que el artefacto propone, primero, entre el usuario y la tecnología y, segundo, entre el usuario y los demás.
+
===Photogrammetry: The stereoscopic vision of the cartographer, of two photos superimposed to produce a three-dimensional model and transfer the information from the aerial photographs to the manuscript map.===
  
===Fotogrametría: La visión estereoscópica del cartógrafo, de dos fotografías superpuestas para producir un modelo tridimensional y transferir la infromación de las fotografías aéreas al manuscrito del mapa.===
+
Traditionally, the interface is conceived as a system for optimizing communication between humans and machines: “A display connected to a digital computer gives us a chance to gain familiarity with concepts not realizable in the physical world. It is a looking glass into a mathematical wonderland...” <ref>Ivan Sutherland „The Ultimate display“, 1965, en Howard Rheingold „Realidad Virtual“, Gedisa, Barcelona 1994, 18.</ref> (Sutherland,1965)<ref>.In 1963, Ivan Sutherland created Sketchpad, device with an attached light pen, which the user moved on a tablet in order to activate actions on a monitor connected to a computer. It was the first system to use a symbolic interface and direct manipulation of graphic symbols, allowing users to generate graphics directly on screen by means of the light pen. The movements on the sketchpad also modified the computer memory, and the screen became interactive in realtime. Sketchpad was a totally new way of working with computers, and proof that computers could be used for more than just processing data. The notion of the digital interface was born.</ref>
  
La clásica concepción de interficie es la de un sistema de optimización de la comunicación que media entre humano y máquina: “Una pantalla conectada con una computadora digital nos brinda la ocasión de familiarizarnos con conceptos que no se pueden materializar en el mundo físico. Es un espejo que nos lleva al mundo maravilloso de la matemática” <ref>Ivan Sutherland „The Ultimate display“, 1965, en Howard Rheingold „Realidad Virtual“, Gedisa, Barcelona 1994, 18.</ref> (Sutherland,1965)<ref>.En 1963 Ivan Sutherland crea Sketchpad, un equipo con lápiz óptico fijo en la mesa que al moverlo en una dirección activaba acciones en un monitor conectado a una computadora, utilizando para ello un primer sistema con interfaz simbólica y manipulación directa de símbolos gràficos que permitía al usuario crear gràficos directamente en la pantalla con un lápiz de luz. Al cambiar algo en la pantalla, también se modificaba en la memoria del ordenador y la pantalla se hacía interactiva en tiempo real. Sketchpad era una forma totalmente nueva para operar con ordenadores y la prueba que un ordenador podía utilizarse más allá del simple procesamiento de dato. Y con ello aparecía la noción de interficie digital.</ref>
+
With the introduction of the internet, this idea was reformulated, and the computer itself came to be considered as the interface between humans and “something” that is behind the machine. This shifted the problem of the interface in computers to the field of system design centred on “usability”: the user has a specific goal in mind, and the role of the system is to guide him to it quickly and surely.  
  
Con Internet, el concepto de interficie se reformuló en la idea que la máquina es en sí misma interficie entre el humano y “algo” que está detrás del ordenador. De esta manera, el problema de la interficie en los ordenadores se trasladó al campo del diseño de sistemas centrado en asegurar su ‘usabilidad’: el usuario tiene un objetivo específico en la mente y el sistema sólo tiene que guiarlo de manera segura y rápida hasta él.
 
  
 +
Fig: Stereoscopic plotter. Canada, Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, 1976
  
Fig: Màquina trazadora esteroscópica. Canada, Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, 1976
 
  
 +
A system’s usability is based on its effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction within a specific usage context. In other words, on its accuracy and its error rate, its appropriateness to the context, its ease of use, and how easily it can be learnt and remembered. The notion of usability, popularised through the techniques and principles defined by computer engineers such as Jakob Nielsen<ref>Dr. Dr. Jakob Nielsen is a usability guru who has worked on different ways of automatically implementing user interfaces. He is the author of the best-seller Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity, New Riders Publishing, Indianapolis, 2000. http://www.nngroup.com/books/designing-web-usability/</ref> is based on having the user’s needs in mind. This means that designers need to discover, understand, and work with people representing the actual or potential users of the product. As such, from the perspective of usability, “user-representation” is the key to the success of an interface. This usability discourse was essential to the development of disciplines such as Human Computer Interaction (HCI) – which also has to do with the development of dynamic information displays such as the ones we are dealing with here – as a means that sought to improve system security, functionality and efficiency<ref>The development of HCI influenced research on emotional computing through intuitive interfaces. The aim of emotional computing is to produce “emotionally intelligent” digital tools that can detect and respond to the moods of users – frustration, confusion, interest, boredom, distraction, concentration – as they interact with a computer. These types of applications, which seek to improve “usability”, are developed in line with three objectives: 1.- To physically and psychologically enable emotional communication by means of the design of new communication tools. 2.- To reduce user frustration through the development of applications that detect and manage this frustration. 3.- To develop applications that manage affective information.
 +
</ref>.
  
Así la usabilidad de un sistema se basa en su efectividad, eficiencia y satisfacción en un contexto de uso especificado, esto es, su precisión, la facilidad de su aprendizaje, su tasa de errores, su adecuación al contexto de uso, y la facilidad del sistema para ser recordado. La noción de usabilidad, popularizada a través de las técnicas y principios elaborados a finales de la década de los 90 por ingenieros informáticos como Nielsen <ref>Dr. Jakob Nielsen, gurú teórico de la usabilidad y ha desarrollado diversas técnicas para implementar interficies de usuarios de manera automática. Es autor del best-seller “Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity” New Riders Publishing, Indianapolis, 2000. http://www.nngroup.com/books/designing-web-usability/</ref>, descansa en el principio de aproximación al usuario, por el que hay que conocer, entender y trabajar con las personas que representan a los usuarios actuales o potenciales del producto. Así la ”user-representation” (representación del usuario es, bajo el prisma de la usabilidad, la clave del éxito de una interficie. Este discurso de la usabilidad fué clave en el desarrollo de disciplinas como la “Human-Computer Interaction” (HCI), acoplada también al desarrollo de displays de información dinámica como los que nos ocupan y que ha sido creada para aumentar de la seguridad, funcionalidad y efectividad de los sistemas <ref>El desarrollo de la HCI influyó en las investigaciones sobre computación emocional mediante interficies intuitivas. La computación emocional tiene como objetivo elaborar herramientas digitales emocionalmente inteligentes para la detección y gestión de los estados anímicos del usuario –frustración, confusión, interés, aburrimiento, distracción, concentración- en su trato con el ordenador. Las áreas de desarrollo de este tipo de aplicaciones se definen, en base a la mejora de la ‘usabilidad’, en tres direcciones: 1.- Facilitar el proceso de comunicación emocional del usuario de una manera física y psicológicamente conformable mediante el diseño de nuevas herramientas de comunicación. 2.- Reducir la frustación de usuario mediante el desarrollo de aplicaciones que detecten y gestionen esta frustración. 3.- Desarrollar aplicaciones que gestionen la información afectiva.
+
It supports the mass production of artefacts, the standardisation of communication and interaction, and the creation of systems that offer users what they expect and nothing else. Under the principle of the exchangeability of users – standardisation – HCI seeks to “design one interface for everybody. That is in terms of culture and in terms of the first industrialization: the computer is a monoculture and the computer is used as a tool that is used to produce products. The resulting tools are mass products that expect a sort of average user for its optimal functioning. This leads to a standardization of interaction and communication styles (G. Trogemann et alt.)<ref>G.Trogemann, J.Viehoff, A.Roch: “Interfaces and Errors” en “Sciences of the Interface.Proceedings of the International Symposium. ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany, May 18-21, 1999”. Diebner,H., Druckrey,T., Weibel, P. Eds. Genista Verlag, Tübingen 2001, 98.</ref>. This standardization required by usability raises a problem when it comes to adapting to different users who are required to adapt their skills and modes of interaction to the system, thus spreading the homogenizing effects (Geert Lovink, 2001).<ref>Geert Lovink, “Dissociate webdesign from usability”, 2001, en rev. Laudanum, 2003</ref>. Analysing the extent to which the concept of “usability” has conditioned the design of the software interfaces we use would help us to learn more about the forms that the “self” adopts in online presentations, its adaptability and its versatility as a communicational interface.
</ref>. Sus objetivos son la realización de productos de masas, la estandarización de la comunicación y de la interacción, y la creación de sistemas que ofrezcan al usuario lo que el usuario espera y nada más. Bajo el principio de la intercambiabilidad –estandarización- de los usuarios, la HCI intenta “diseñar una interficie para todo el mundo. Ello tanto en términos de cultura como en términos de primera industrialización: el ordenador es una monocultura y el ordenador es una herramienta utilizada para producir. Las herramientas resultantes son productos de masas que precisan un usuario medio para su funcionamiento óptimo. Ello nos lleva hacia la estandarización de la interacción y de los estilos comunicativos” (G.Trogemann et alt.)<ref>G.Trogemann, J.Viehoff, A.Roch: “Interfaces and Errors” en “Sciences of the Interface.Proceedings of the International Symposium. ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany, May 18-21, 1999”. Diebner,H., Druckrey,T., Weibel, P. Eds. Genista Verlag, Tübingen 2001, 98.</ref>. Esta estandarización que precisa la usabilidad plantea el problema de la falta de flexibilidad del sistema para adaptarse a distintos usuarios, requiriendo la adaptación de las habilidades y modos de interacción del usuario respecto del sistema y propagando efectos homogeneizadores (Geert Lovink, 2001)<ref>Geert Lovink, “Dissociate webdesign from usability”, 2001, en rev. Laudanum, 2003</ref>. Analizar en qué medida el concepto de “usabilidad” ha condicionado el diseño de la interficies utilizadas en los software que nos ocupan, nos ayudará a encontrar respuestas a la cuestión de las formas que en este caso adopta el “yo” en su presentación on-line, su adaptabilidad y su versatilidad como interficie comunicativa.
+
  
Un determinante latente a los conceptos de interficie y usabilidad es, como decíamos, la noción de “user representation” o representación del usuario. Extensamente elaborada por autores como Akrich, Woolgar, Oudshoorn o Silverstone<ref>Tal y como vienen citados por Els Rommes, Op.Cit. , 44.</ref>, se ha convertido en una de las herramientas de análisis más extendidas de los productos tecnológicos. El concepto de representación del usuario aparece cuando las identidades proyectadas de los posibles usuarios son utilizadas por los diseñadores en el contexto y proceso del diseño de artefactos<ref>Els Rommes, Op.Cit. , 44.</ref>. Frente a perspectivas estructuralistas como la de Akrich, para quien el éxito de un artefacto reside en la habilidad de los diseñadores de generar e inscribir en el mismo artefacto tecnológico una representación adecuada del usuario; o más centradas en el nivel identitivo como la de Woolgar, para el que la ‘configuración del usuario’ -el carácter, capacidades y futuras acciones- deben estructurarse y definirse en relación al artefacto; la perspectiva utilizada por Rommes en su análisis de la DDS <ref>Els Rommes, Op.Cit.</ref> añade aspectos simbólicos provenientes de los procesos culturales, económicos, y sociales en las relaciones tanto del diseñador como del usuario con la tecnología. Desde esta amplia perspectiva, defendida también por autores como Silverstone, es desde donde nos interesa el análisis de la tecnología, ya que posibilita la distinción entre la dinámica de la interficie y la dinámica del contexto en el que esta interficie está localizada. Esta aproximación deviene un tipo de ‘mapa de intereses’(Callon, Law, 1998)<ref>Siguiendo la Teoría del Actor Red (ANT), los mapas de interés son mapas de trabajo que representan las relaciones entre las elecciones tomadas y los intereses de los actores, basados en la heterogeneidad de los componentes en juego, y en la contemporaneidad de su interrelación en una red que puede ser redefinida y alterada en cualquier momento. Para más información sobre el tema, consultar “De los intereses y su transformación. Enrolamiento y contraenrolamiento” de Michel Callon y John Law en Domènech, Tirado (comp.) Op.Cit., 51-61.</ref>, próximo a la Teoría del Actor-Red, que es uno de los ejes metodológicos sobre el que se construye el manifiesto.
+
As mentioned earlier, a determining factor latent in the concepts of interface and usability is the notion of “user representation”. This notion, which has been extensively theorised by writers such as Akrich, Woolgar, Oudshoorn and Silverstone <ref>Tal y como vienen citados por Els Rommes, Op.Cit. , 44.</ref>, has become one of the most widespread tools for the analysis of technological products. The notion of user representation emerges when the projected identities of possible users are employed by designers in the context and the process of designing devices.<ref>Els Rommes, Op.Cit. , 44.</ref>. In the structuralist approach of theorists such as Akrich, the success of an artefact depends on the designer’s ability to generate an appropriate representation of the user and to inscribe it in the technological artefact. Other approaches are more focused on identity, such as Woolgar’s, for whom the “user configuration” – the character, abilities, and future actions – must be structured and defined in relation to the artefact. In contrast, Rommes’ approach in her analysis of the DDS<ref>Els Rommes, Op.Cit.</ref> adds symbolic aspects stemming from cultural, economic, and social processes in the designer’s and the user’s relations with technology. We are interested in studying technology from this broad perspective, which is also defended by authors like Silverstone, because it enables us to distinguish between the dynamic of the interface and the dynamic of the context in which the interface is located. This approach ends up becoming a ‘map of interests’ (Callon, Law, 1998)<ref>According to Actor Network Theory (ANT), maps of interest are working maps that show the connections between decisions made and the interests of the actors, based on the heterogeneity of the components at play, and on their coinciding in a network that can be redefined and altered at any time. For more information, see Michel Callon and John Law, “On Interests and their Transformation: Enrolment and Counter-Enrolment”, Social Studies of Science, 1982.</ref>, similar to actor-network theory, which is one of the core methodologies that the Manifesto is grounded in.
  
  
  
 
<references ->
 
<references ->

Revision as of 14:05, 26 November 2015

Interfaces are not neutral tools. User and performativity theories are embedded in the design of these artefacts, and identifying some of the factors that these theories are based on allows us to detect tactical and technical design choices, and to examine the potential and limits of their implementation and of our behaviour. In view of this, and recognising that this is just one fragment of the prism of this manifesto, this text suggests four coordinates to bear in mind while reading this map: script, domestication, performativity, and usability.

The script: Define a starting line, known as the base line, and determine its longitude and latitude at each end.

File:Example.jpg T0390S14 F3.gif

Fig: The principle of triangulation. (As per A. N. Strahler, 1963)[1]

The script is the basic concept that underpins the study of these artefacts. The notion of the script can be read within constructivist theory, in which technology is analysed as text (Woolgar 1991; Latour 1988). According to Liesbet van Zoonen, the idea of the script is conceptually similar to the concept of “audience involvement” in communication studies, in which presupposed users in a text are signifiers (Zoonen 2000). Anne-Jorunn Berg suggests that the use of the concepts of “coding” to describe the activity of the writer, and “decoding” to describe that of the user originated in the field of media studies. All of these concepts set up a connection between designers (authors) and users (readers) in which the technology (text) plays a crucial role (Els Rommes, 2002, 15).[2]

The script for a particular technology consists of the assumptions that the programmer makes about the users and future users of an artefact. These assumptions crystallise in the technology and predetermine the design and use of that technology. As Madeleine Akrich [3], suggests, in the design process for any technology “innovators are from the very start constantly interested in their future users. They construct many different representations of these users, and objectify these representations in technological choices.” Designers inscribe the profiles of future users within the technology in the form of scripts that both attribute and delegate to users specific competences and actions, prescribing what actors are supposedly going to do – what they will be able to do – in order to make that technology work.

The origin of Akrich’s concept of a “script” lies in the process of in-scription [4]: “Designers thus define actors with specific tastes, competences, motives, aspirations, political prejudices, and the rest, and they assume that morality, technology, science, and economy will evolve in particular ways. (...) A large part of the work of innovators is that of ‘inscribing’ this vision of (or prediction about) the world in the technical content of the new object. I will call the end product of this work a ‘script’ or a ‘scenario’.” In order to recognize and analyze this process of inscription, Akrich suggests carrying out the opposite process: “(...) it is in the confrontation between technical objects and their users that the latter are rendered real or unreal (...) we have to continually go back and forth between the designer and the user, between the designer’s projected user and the real user, between the real world inscribed in the object and the world described by its displacement. Description then becomes the inventory and analysis of the mechanisms that allows the relation between a form and a meaning constituted by and constitutive of the technical object to come into being”.[5]

Domestication: Organise the concepts of direction and distance so as to enable a broad system of “natural” relationships

Based on a “processual” idea of technology – where the prevailing notion is that technologies are constantly reconstructed and represented in particular constellations – the analysis of the use of these artefacts is grounded in the concept of the appropriation or domestication of the artefact, which is the process by which a technology is accepted, altered, or changes its users. “(...) domestication of ICTs a term which we use to refer to the complex social processes through which objects are taken into and find a place within the home – or are rejected” (Silverstone, 1994).[6]. In these processes, which are not free of political and cultural implications, the notion of domestication affects the different stages of implementation of technological artefacts. Silverstone writes that “domestication is anticipated in design, and design is completed in domestication. (...) both constrain and enable the capacity of consumers to define their own relationship to the technologies that are offered to, or confront, them. These constraints (...) are embodied in design and marketing and in the public definitions of ‘what these technologies can and should be used for’.”[7].

Even though focusing on both of these processes – identifying the script inscribed in the artefact on one hand, and detecting the appropriations of the tool by users on the other – is an ideal scenario for a thorough analysis of these technologies in relation to possible transformations of the concept of online identity, here we will focus only on the first, leaving aside the analysis of the impact of users. Nonetheless, we will include the concept of domestication as one of the coordinates for navigation, because, as mentioned above, it offers a lens through which to calibrate the contributions of tools analysed in the discussion around user-centred interfaces.

Performativity: Unlike topographic maps, marine charts show the heights and depths relative to sea level at all points. For this reason, marine charts use two different levels of reference

Fig: Relationship between tide surfaces, cartographic datum, and physical characteristics (As per W. D. Forrester, 1983)

One of the premises for navigating an interface is to set up a feedback process with the interface itself, based on the record of the user’s activity, so that his participation, the intensity of his relationships, and the memory of his “logs” (connections) are memorised in an interconnected way. We can use the performativity of the artefact – the data that it records and the value it confers on them – as an indicator for identifying these operating mechanisms, and the discourse that these mechanisms hide in relation to the concept of identity. Performativity here is understood as “the reiterative and citational practice by which discourse produces the effects that it names” (Butler, 1993).[8].

The intimate relationship between discourse and action defended by Butler and other gender theorists was already foreshadowed in the philosophy of Hannah Arendt. “In acting and speaking, men show who they are, reveal actively their unique personal identities and thus make their appearance in the human world, while their physical identities appear without any activity of their own in the unique shape of the body and the sound of the voice. This disclosure of ‘who’ in contradistinction [9] to ‘what’ somebody is (...) is implicit in everything somebody says and does” (Arendt, 1993, 203).[9] al “qué” es alguien (...) está implícito en todo lo que ese alguien dice y hace” [10] (Arendt, 1993, 203). From this point of view, “discourse” or “speaking” ceases to be merely informative and communicational. Pervaded by its performativity, functions on the level of the construction of the user.

After determining the script and performativity of a device, we should pay attention to the form it takes – its interface – to discover the type of mediation that the artefact encourages: between the user and technology, and between the user and others.


Photogrammetry: The stereoscopic vision of the cartographer, of two photos superimposed to produce a three-dimensional model and transfer the information from the aerial photographs to the manuscript map.

Traditionally, the interface is conceived as a system for optimizing communication between humans and machines: “A display connected to a digital computer gives us a chance to gain familiarity with concepts not realizable in the physical world. It is a looking glass into a mathematical wonderland...” [11] (Sutherland,1965)[12]

With the introduction of the internet, this idea was reformulated, and the computer itself came to be considered as the interface between humans and “something” that is behind the machine. This shifted the problem of the interface in computers to the field of system design centred on “usability”: the user has a specific goal in mind, and the role of the system is to guide him to it quickly and surely.


Fig: Stereoscopic plotter. Canada, Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, 1976


A system’s usability is based on its effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction within a specific usage context. In other words, on its accuracy and its error rate, its appropriateness to the context, its ease of use, and how easily it can be learnt and remembered. The notion of usability, popularised through the techniques and principles defined by computer engineers such as Jakob Nielsen[13] is based on having the user’s needs in mind. This means that designers need to discover, understand, and work with people representing the actual or potential users of the product. As such, from the perspective of usability, “user-representation” is the key to the success of an interface. This usability discourse was essential to the development of disciplines such as Human Computer Interaction (HCI) – which also has to do with the development of dynamic information displays such as the ones we are dealing with here – as a means that sought to improve system security, functionality and efficiency[14].

It supports the mass production of artefacts, the standardisation of communication and interaction, and the creation of systems that offer users what they expect and nothing else. Under the principle of the exchangeability of users – standardisation – HCI seeks to “design one interface for everybody. That is in terms of culture and in terms of the first industrialization: the computer is a monoculture and the computer is used as a tool that is used to produce products. The resulting tools are mass products that expect a sort of average user for its optimal functioning. This leads to a standardization of interaction and communication styles (G. Trogemann et alt.)[15]. This standardization required by usability raises a problem when it comes to adapting to different users who are required to adapt their skills and modes of interaction to the system, thus spreading the homogenizing effects (Geert Lovink, 2001).[16]. Analysing the extent to which the concept of “usability” has conditioned the design of the software interfaces we use would help us to learn more about the forms that the “self” adopts in online presentations, its adaptability and its versatility as a communicational interface.

As mentioned earlier, a determining factor latent in the concepts of interface and usability is the notion of “user representation”. This notion, which has been extensively theorised by writers such as Akrich, Woolgar, Oudshoorn and Silverstone [17], has become one of the most widespread tools for the analysis of technological products. The notion of user representation emerges when the projected identities of possible users are employed by designers in the context and the process of designing devices.[18]. In the structuralist approach of theorists such as Akrich, the success of an artefact depends on the designer’s ability to generate an appropriate representation of the user and to inscribe it in the technological artefact. Other approaches are more focused on identity, such as Woolgar’s, for whom the “user configuration” – the character, abilities, and future actions – must be structured and defined in relation to the artefact. In contrast, Rommes’ approach in her analysis of the DDS[19] adds symbolic aspects stemming from cultural, economic, and social processes in the designer’s and the user’s relations with technology. We are interested in studying technology from this broad perspective, which is also defended by authors like Silverstone, because it enables us to distinguish between the dynamic of the interface and the dynamic of the context in which the interface is located. This approach ends up becoming a ‘map of interests’ (Callon, Law, 1998)[20], similar to actor-network theory, which is one of the core methodologies that the Manifesto is grounded in.


  1. The images in this text are sourced from http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/t0390s/t0390s04.htm
  2. Els Rommes, “Gender scripts and the Internet”. Twente University Press, Enschede, 2002.
  3. Quoted by Els Rommes, Op.Cit. , 15.
  4. Michel Callon defined “inscription” in clearer terms as the translation of the programmer’s interests to a material form.
  5. Akrich, M. “The De-scription of technical objects”. En: Bijker, W.E. & Law, J. (Eds.)” Shaping Technology, Building Society”. London: MIT Press, 1997. 205-224.
  6. Leslie Haddon and Roger Silverstone: “The Careers of Information and Communication Technologies in the Home” en “Proceedings of the the International Working Conference on Home Orientated Informatics, Telematics and Automation.” Copenhagen, June 27th-July 1st 1994,
  7. Quoted in Els Rommes, Op.Cit. 214
  8. Judith Butler, “Bodies that matter: on the discursive limits of “sex””. Routledge, New York 1993, 2. (Ed. Cast.: “Cuerpos que importan: sobre los límites materiales y discursivos del “sexo”. Paidós, Barcelona 2002)
  9. En la traducción castellana de “The Human Condition”, Arendt, 1958.
  10. Hannah Arendt, “The Human Condition” 1958. Se ha utilizado la edición castellana: “La condición humana”, Paidós, Barcelona 1993, 203.
  11. Ivan Sutherland „The Ultimate display“, 1965, en Howard Rheingold „Realidad Virtual“, Gedisa, Barcelona 1994, 18.
  12. .In 1963, Ivan Sutherland created Sketchpad, device with an attached light pen, which the user moved on a tablet in order to activate actions on a monitor connected to a computer. It was the first system to use a symbolic interface and direct manipulation of graphic symbols, allowing users to generate graphics directly on screen by means of the light pen. The movements on the sketchpad also modified the computer memory, and the screen became interactive in realtime. Sketchpad was a totally new way of working with computers, and proof that computers could be used for more than just processing data. The notion of the digital interface was born.
  13. Dr. Dr. Jakob Nielsen is a usability guru who has worked on different ways of automatically implementing user interfaces. He is the author of the best-seller Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity, New Riders Publishing, Indianapolis, 2000. http://www.nngroup.com/books/designing-web-usability/
  14. The development of HCI influenced research on emotional computing through intuitive interfaces. The aim of emotional computing is to produce “emotionally intelligent” digital tools that can detect and respond to the moods of users – frustration, confusion, interest, boredom, distraction, concentration – as they interact with a computer. These types of applications, which seek to improve “usability”, are developed in line with three objectives: 1.- To physically and psychologically enable emotional communication by means of the design of new communication tools. 2.- To reduce user frustration through the development of applications that detect and manage this frustration. 3.- To develop applications that manage affective information.
  15. G.Trogemann, J.Viehoff, A.Roch: “Interfaces and Errors” en “Sciences of the Interface.Proceedings of the International Symposium. ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany, May 18-21, 1999”. Diebner,H., Druckrey,T., Weibel, P. Eds. Genista Verlag, Tübingen 2001, 98.
  16. Geert Lovink, “Dissociate webdesign from usability”, 2001, en rev. Laudanum, 2003
  17. Tal y como vienen citados por Els Rommes, Op.Cit. , 44.
  18. Els Rommes, Op.Cit. , 44.
  19. Els Rommes, Op.Cit.
  20. According to Actor Network Theory (ANT), maps of interest are working maps that show the connections between decisions made and the interests of the actors, based on the heterogeneity of the components at play, and on their coinciding in a network that can be redefined and altered at any time. For more information, see Michel Callon and John Law, “On Interests and their Transformation: Enrolment and Counter-Enrolment”, Social Studies of Science, 1982.