Chapter 14. Digital Environment

No metaphor is more misleading than “smart.”

—MARK WEISER

Variant Modes and Digital Places

THE RULE-DRIVEN MODES AND simulated affordances of interfaces are also the objects, events, and layouts that function as places, whether on a screen alone or in the ambient digital activity in our surroundings. So, changing the mode of objects can affect the mode of places as well, especially when objects work as parts of interdependent systems.

For example, let’s take a look at a software-based place: Google’s search site. Suppose that we want to research what qualities to look for in a new kitchen knife. When we run a query using Google’s regular mobile Web search, we see the sort of general results to which we’ve ...

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