pComp – Week 1 – What is interaction?

Interaction must involve at least two participants who partake in a variety of sub-actions that can be passive or assertive and determine the quality of the interaction itself.

Crawford suggests we do not know what interactivity is by showing us an image of kids playing on an “interactive” children’s rug. A rug that you place toy cars on to play with. But this isn’t the true definition of interactive. The rug doesn’t play on it’s own and doesn’t do anything but lie on the floor. He also give us two more examples of the incorrect usage of the word.

Image from book

He goes on to plainly define interaction as “a cyclic process in which two actors alternately listen, think, and speak.” (source) But that is not to say that you are interacting with a closet by opening the door and the light turning on inside. The closet light turning on is not an interactive action. Crawford uses a similar analogy – the “Nintendo refrigerator.” It is argued that the fridge, just like the closet, is just a reaction.

But the fridge does, in a sense, interact with us but only at a low level. There are many degrees to interactivity and they depend on the quality of three subtasks: listening, thinking, and speaking. All of which require the same things: to have a good conversation, both or all parties must be participating intellectually in an approachable way and paying attention. So to have a successful interaction, you must obtain all three of these attributes.

I have to say that I disagree with Crawford when he suggests plays are extremely low on the interactive scale. Immersive theater today has shown that audience participation is key and crucial to the execution of the plays’ endeavor. While certain experiences have the audience simply view the performance while on the same stage as the actors, more complex staging requires the audience members to use their free will to employ actions like responding to the actors’ questions and using props to demonstrate their response to certain actions. Crawford does go on to say he believes interactivity is greater than any other form of human expression which leads me to believe he would appreciate some of the immersive theater that exists today. I think he may have been speaking of theater in the same way he was implying that movies are non-interactive.

To apply Crawford’s definition of interactivity to computer science, we have to optimize the user experience to ensure the user will communicate effectively with the given interface. An interactivity designer will hopefully consider the embodied software as a function and the interface as a form, creating a complete form with the combination of both. A user interface designer, however, will focus on the interface itself – being more attuned to the mathematic and scientific side to the infrastructure. The most important thing to understand from this is that user interface design has existed for as long as computers have, but that is not to say that the interactivity of these machines allowed the user to communicate effectively solely based upon that design. Interactivity design is key to bridging the gap between, for example, a computer that is capable of the hardest computational skills but does not create a friendly basis for communication with the user.

In the “Vision Of The Future” video, you can clearly see where interactivity design comes into play. Every swipe action the user partakes in has a direct effect on what happens within the interface. The augmented images that jump out from the screen allows the user to interact with the functionality of the program. There is a conversation between the user and the devices that people connect with and the nature of the connection is similar to a conversation that would occur between two humans. Although, there are certain actions that the user employs in this video that initiates a response similar to that of the “Nintendo fridge” in that the response is really just a basic computational function that is devoid portraying any complex human intellectual capability. And so, a truly interactive device would have to give us the same qualities and sensational results that an interaction with a human being would, both physical and emotional.


Visual Language – Week Uno

For this weeks assignment I chose a poster of Barak Obama used for his 2008 presidential campaign. It was designed by the artist Shepard Fairey and became an iconic portrayal of “hope.” The layout of the poster is very straight forward. There is a clear image of Obama looking up and out into the distance with a thoughtful and headstrong look on his face. The word “hope” is clearly written is bold typeface underneath his portrait with a small logo that could be considered a lapel pin above the “e.” The poster is now considered a cultural phenomenon. There is an interesting article about how it became such a success that you can find¬†here.

You can see here that the print is divided into 4 spacial elements. Starting from the top the first three portions of the photo are all the same width apart. At the bottom, where “hope” begins, there is less space used to amplify the emotion that the viewer is supposed to feel when seeing the poster. The emphasis is therefore placed on the portrait of Obama rather than the text, although, the bold font forces the audience to feel hope when seeing the image as a whole.

The color selection plays off of red, white, and blue using an orangish red, a muted pale yellow/beige, and a navy and light muted blue. The lighter colors are meant to portray the light that is hitting his face, as well as the white shirt he’s wearing. The red is used as a darker contrast color while the blues are there to outline his face and suit. It’s interesting that the creator of this image chose blue and red to contrast each other since it implies a centrist party affiliation (blue for democrats, red for republicans).

When trying to find the font used in this poster, whatthefont.com couldn’t locate it so I did a simple google search and found another article (here) that identified it as Gotham. This font was created by Tobias Frere-Jones in 2000, first becoming well known as the go-to font for Esquire magazine’s cover. It has since become the official font for Twitter feeds and the most popular choice for movie trailers. Gotham used in this poster is set to a very bold and capitalized typeface that emphasizes the meaning of the word in a simple and effective manner.

ICM – Week Uno

I’ve never written code in my life…I’m a little scared….¬†Although I’ve managed to complete the quiz with relative ease, it took me quite some time to really understand what I was doing. I ran into the following problems when trying to complete my little monster:

I’m trying to add a yellow background color to my script and I keep getting this error:

Here is what my script currently looks like:

It is my understanding that the background color should be listed under function setup, and it appears that I have it in the right place. Now that I’m looking at the error code again it refers to an “unexpected token” in line 6, column 14 so I’m assuming one of the numbers is incorrect. What is even more distressing is that I tried editing this from a previously correct example named “Zoog” so when I refer to that one and correct it, my error still pops up! I have to admit, I gave up on the problem and started to watch the instructional videos which gave me some confidence to create a monster from scratch.

As a side note, I should mention that when creating the reproduced olive I ran into a problem making the line red. This was because I was putting “fill” instead of “stroke” (see below) Now I understand that order is very important.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..Just from playing around with Javascript for the first time, I’m starting to realize it’s massive functionality. The possibilities seem endless and it is both exciting and overwhelming. Although I’ve only scratched the surface of p5.js, I can already tell that it will enable me to create interactive webpages, the likes of which I never knew I could code myself! Having a creative website to illustrate the work I will do in this program will certainly help my endeavors. I can see how javascript will make it possible to have a unique online presence.