Text & User

Currently reading a book titled, "Thinking With Type", by Ellen Upton, pub Princeton Architectural Press.

In the section where the writer talks about, text, this passage has struck a particular chord with me.

Another Model, which undermined the designer's new claim to power surfaced at the end of the 1990s, borrowed not from Literary criticism, but from human—computer interaction [HCI] studies and the fields of interface and usability design. The dominant subject of our age has become neither reader nor writer but user, a figure conceived as a bundle of needs and impairments-cognitive, physical emotional. Like a patient or child, the user is a figure to be protected and cared for but also scrutinised and controlled, submitted to research and testing.

How texts are used becomes more important than what they mean. Someone clicked here to get over there. Someone who bought this also bought that. The interactive environment not only provides users with a degree of control and self direction but also, more quietly and insidiously, it gathers data about its audiences. Barhtes's image of text as a game to be played still holds, as the user responds to signals from the system. We may play the text, but it is also playing us.∗

∗pg 73 Thinking With Type, by Ellen Upton, pub, Princeton Architectural Press 2004, ISBN 978-1-56898-4483

A whole unit of research there alone in this one quote.

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This page contains a single entry by s2art published on March 19, 2008 9:42 AM.

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