Interface Culture: How the Digital Medium--from Windows to the Web--Changes the way We Write, Speak

3.67 avg rating
( 266 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780062514820: Interface Culture: How the Digital Medium--from Windows to the Web--Changes the way We Write, Speak

"As our machines are increasingly jacked into global networks of information, it becomes more and more difficult to imagine the dataspace at our fingertips, to picture all that complexity in our mind's eye . . . Representing all that information is going to require a new visual language, as complex and meaningful as the great metropolitan narratives of the 19th-century novel."--from Interface Culture

In this hip, erudite manifesto, Steven Johnson--one of the most influential people in cyberspace, according to Newsweek bridges the gap that yawns between technology and the arts. Drawing on his own expertise in the humanities and on the Web, he not only demonstrates how interfaces--those buttons, graphics and words on the screen through which we control information--influence our daily lives, but also tracks their roots back to Victorian novels, early cinema and even medieval urban planning. The result is a lush cultural and historical tableau in which today's interfaces take their rightful place in the lineage of artistic innovation.

With Interface Culture, Johnson brilliantly charts the vital role interface design plays in modern society. Just as the great novels of Melville, Dickens and Zola explain a rapidly industralizing society to itself, he argues, web sites, Microsoft Bob, flying toasters and the landscapes of video games tell the digital society how to imagine itself and how to get around in cyberspace's unfamiliar realm.

The role once played by novelists is now fulfilled by the interface designer, who has bridged the gap between technology and everyday life by providing a conceptual framework for the vast amounts of information and computation that surround us.

Johnson boldly explores the past--a terrain few tech thinkers have dared enter, and one that throws dazzling light on the modern interface's roots. From the great cathedrals of the Middle Ages to the rise of perspective drawing in the Renaissance, from Enlightenment satire to the golden age of television, Interface Culture uses a wealth of venerable "interface innovation" to place newfangled creations like Windows 95 and the Web in a rich historical context.

Controversial, clear-sighted and challenging, Interface Culture also looks at the future--from what PC screens will look like in 10 years to how new interfaces will alter the style of our conversation, prose and thoughts. With a distinctively accessible style, Interface Culture brings new intellectual depth to the vital discussion of how technology has transformed society, and is sure to provoke wide debate in both literary and technological circles.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

Steven Johnson turns the tables on the way we consider our computer interfaces. While many discussions focus on how interfaces help us work by adapting to our ways of thinking and our real-world metaphors, Johnson jumps from there to look at how our thinking and world view are altered by our computer interfaces.

He begins with the simple: The mouse improved the spatial nature of our computers by letting us move, by the proxy of our pointers, within the screen. The windows metaphor made cyberspace a 3-D space. And while we tend to think about the graphical nature of interfaces, Johnson also explores the textual side and how it has changed the way we work with the written word.

Interface Culture then goes on to show how, with each advance in technology, the interface shapes our perceptions in new ways. Where mice and windows turned the computing world into cyberspace, agents have created a perception of software as personality. On the larger scale, Johnson sees these tools, originally built on noncyber metaphors, as creating, in their turn, a new set of metaphors for looking at the rest of the world. And while he finds it exciting, he spends considerable time on such shortcomings in our approach to interfacing: what he considers the excessive emphasis on graphics elements at the cost of anything textual. Johnson, who is the editor of the cerebral Feed Web site and whom Newsweek called one of the most influential people in cyberspace, has written an intelligent book about interface design, its relationship to the real world, and how it affects our perception of worlds both cyber and physical.

From the Inside Flap:

In this hip, erudite manifesto, Steven Johnson, one of the most influential people in cyberspace according to Newsweek, bridges the gap that yawns between technology and the arts. Drawing on his own experience in the humanities and on the Web, he not only demonstrates how interfaces--those buttons, graphics, and words on the screen through which we control information--influence our daily lives, but also track their roots back to Victorian novels, early cinema, and even medieval urban planning. The result is a lush cultural and historical tableau in which today's interfaces take their rightful place in the lineage of artistic innovation.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Johnson, Steven
Published by Harper Edge, NY (1997)
ISBN 10: 0062514822 ISBN 13: 9780062514820
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Valley Books
(Amherst, MA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper Edge, NY, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 264pp. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾". Bookseller Inventory # 077062

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
3.92
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 2.97
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Stephen Johnson
Published by HarperOne (1997)
ISBN 10: 0062514822 ISBN 13: 9780062514820
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HarperOne, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0062514822

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
7.75
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 3
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Johnson, Stephen
Published by HarperOne (1997)
ISBN 10: 0062514822 ISBN 13: 9780062514820
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HarperOne, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110062514822

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
20.91
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 1.50
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Johnson, Stephen
Published by HarperOne
ISBN 10: 0062514822 ISBN 13: 9780062514820
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Cloud 9 Books
(Wellington, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HarperOne. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0062514822 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0020899

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
46.50
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 3.76
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds