Inventing the Medium: Principles of Interaction Design as a by Janet H. Murray

By Janet H. Murray

Electronic artifacts from iPads to databases pervade our lives, and the layout judgements that form them have an effect on how we predict, act, converse, and comprehend the realm. however the velocity of swap has been so speedy that technical innovation is outstripping layout. Interactors are frequently mystified and pissed off via their engaging yet complicated new units; in the meantime, product layout groups fight to articulate shared and enduring layout pursuits. With Inventing the Medium, Janet Murray presents a unified vocabulary and a standard method for the layout of electronic items and environments. it is going to be an important advisor for either scholars and practitioners during this evolving field.

Murray explains that cutting edge interplay designers may still consider all gadgets made with bits--whether video games or websites, robots or the newest killer apps--as belonging to a unmarried new medium: the electronic medium. Designers can pace the method of beneficial and lasting innovation by way of concentrating on the collective cultural activity of inventing this new medium. Exploring concepts for maximizing the expressive energy of electronic artifacts, Murray identifies and examines 4 representational affordances of electronic environments that offer the center palette for designers throughout purposes: computational strategies, person participation, navigable area, and encyclopedic capability.

Each bankruptcy encompasses a set of layout Explorations--creative workouts for college students and notion experiments for practitioners--that enable readers to use the information within the bankruptcy to specific layout difficulties. Inventing the Medium additionally offers greater than two hundred illustrations of particular layout thoughts drawn from a number of genres and structures and a word list of layout options.

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It is important to remember that a medium is both material and cultural: a stone and chisel only become a medium for writing when a society develops practices of marking the stone and interpreting the chisel marks. Furthermore, the materials and cultural practices that make up any medium serve three nested processes: inscription, transmission, and representation. Design choices shape all three levels, and a change in any one of these levels can have consequences up and down the structure. For designers, it is helpful to think of anything made out of electronic bits and meant to be directly used by human beings as an artifact created in the emerging digital medium.

In 1996 the designers aimed to reproduce online the authority and familiar look of the printed newspaper. By 2010 they had many more digital conventions at their disposal—grid columns, menus, tabs, popularity indexes—to support complex navigation and a more dense display of information. Introduction 19 The argument of this book begins with the insight that everything made of bits is part of the same digital medium, because it shares the substructure of computation, which offers a unique combination of properties that can be used for symbolic communication.

Such superficial advances may appeal to a forward-thinking designer and may get immediate attention, but they do not serve the task. Because newly introduced technologies are unstable, they are best explored for demonstration projects, in a research context like a university or industry laboratory; they are risky for projects that have to be done within limited time spans and which must work on a regular basis for a wide population of users. Even if the new technology is stable, it is not helpful to use it if it distracts from the task served or meaning expressed by the artifact.

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