Chapter 13. Digital Interaction

I don’t design stuff for myself. I’m a toolmaker. I design things that other people want to use.

—ROBERT MOOG

Interfaces and Humans

WHEN WE INTERFACE WITH DIGITAL SYSTEMS, we’re doing so through many layers of abstraction, so it’s necessary to provide environmental elements that we can recognize and understand. That’s essentially what computer interfaces are: artificial environments that bridge the gap between digital information’s total symbolic abstraction and our perceptual systems’ need for affordance, whether physical or simulated.

It’s easy to forget that the word “interface” isn’t necessarily about people. For many years, the word mainly had to do with how one machine interoperates with ...

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