diversification of minds - conversation in processes
design for communities

Tokyo, 07.10 - 09.10 1999

10 08 am<Models For New Information Design Interfaces>
moderated by Takeshi Sunaga, Tama Art University, Tokyo, Japan

As we proceed with this conference on Information Design we may be under the illusion that this discipline is already well established. However, it is not. The discipline of information design and the necessary knowledge and skills required for the formulation of satisfactory solutions need to be acquired through our coming explorations.
What are the problems of Information Design? How do they solve such problems? And how can people benefit from these solutions.

Information Design is a discipline which gives 'form' to information. Computer and communication technologies have generated many functions of 'messaging', and the way in which people interact with messages is an important issue of Information Design.
Interfaces specify the way users understand messages and their behaviour. While keyboards and monitors are one sort of interface, the visual elements displayed on the screen are another.
One can say that initially the typewriter and television served as models for the computer hardware interface. Later however, new forms of computer such as laptop, palmtop, and mobile devices emerged. What have the models been for those machines?

In the 80's Xerox came up with a unique metaphor for the software interface- 'the desktop'.
The graphical expression on screen corresponds to familiar physical objects in the users' office environment. This interface enabled users to control the computer through graphic representations.

Now, machines are not only to be found on our desks, but move around with us, while the functions of the keyboard are extended by pen input and voice recognition. These machines are no longer mere calcultating machines, they are mutating to 'communication' and 'multimedia' tools.

However we are still not able to answer the question as to whether they are friendly to us. Many problems of useage in real-live situations still remain to be solved. The main reason behind such problems is the lack of integral interface-models.
How can we develop models which support our understanding?
The success of the 'desktop' metaphor is proof that we need to pick up valuable cues from everyday life experiences in our communities, working environments and leisure activities.

In the session 'models for new information design interfaces' I would like to discuss methods of model-building, the development of concrete design applications and situations, and where such models fail.

Terry Winograd, an expert in Human Computer Interaction, has observed that we only identify the interrelationship of objects and their attributes when we encounter situations in which system and user fail to interact successfully.

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