Casual Power. Understanding User Interfaces through Quantification
Author(s): Gekker, Alex
The paper draws parallels between quantification as found in the user interfaces of video games, to similar elements of more “serious” devices, in particular mapping and navigational platforms. I present an autoethnographic study of a mundane experience that would be familiar to many Google Maps users: locating a nearby place of interest and figuring out how to reach it. The navigational case is used as a canvas for a further analysis of the role of quantified elements in user interfaces. My autoethnography shows how the mundane actions performed on the screen are informed by the necessary reductions that mapped media perform on the physical world. Such reductions are imitated and enabled by user interfaces designed to control and guide user attention. Designers aim to simplify and streamline user interactions with the system and such practices are built on tracking the user and habituating the actions she performs through the screen.
Gekker, Alex: Casual Power. Understanding User Interfaces through Quantification. In: Digital Culture & Society, Jg. 2 (2016), Nr. 1, S. 107–122. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25969/mediarep/885.
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