Sunday, 2 September 2012

Situated interaction from the system perspective: oops!

I am in Tokyo, to give a talk at Information Seeking In Context. Blogger infers that because a post is being composed in Tokyo, the author must understand Kanji. Result:

I have just experimented by pressing random buttons to enlarge the screen shot above from its default illegible size. It is quite gratifying to discover that it is still possible to compose a post, add a link, add a graphic, and maybe even publish it as intended. But believe me: it's taking a lot of effort. I am interacting with what appear to me to be squiggles (though of course those squiggles have meaning for readers of Kanji), and I can only guess the meaning from the graphical layout and positioning of the squiggles.

This is an amusing illustration of the dangers of computing technology being inappropriately "situated". The system has responded to the "place" aspect of the context while not adequately accounting for the "user" aspect. I fully accept that the physical environment presents information to me in Kanji, and that I sometimes fail to interpret it correctly. I don't expect the digital environment to put the same hurdles in my way!


  1. Haha oops :) If it's any consultation readers only have to click on the thumbnail of your image to see it in full size.

  2. Obviously I mean 'consolation' rather than 'consultation' haha - too much stakeholder engagement ;)