595202356-homer-simpson-wallpaper-brain-1024.jpgAs a caveat to my post, let me state that I haven’t studied the HCI literature in 6 years. I’ve been out in the ‘real world’ where I had great expectations of utilizing research, data and other such academic treasures to shape my everyday works…. alas, I had time lines, lack of resources and small budgets. Therefore, if my ramblings seems sophomoric, trivial and just silly… please forgive me. I’m trying to reestablish my intellectual foundation, but it might be slow going!

The following ideas came to mind while reading the posts and the articles. I needed to understand why we expect transactions to behave in certain ways. I was also wondering why we seem to understand G Smith’s 4 languages that have proceeded our new techno-world? When contemplating these questions, I began to understand why a user might come to a ‘techno-experience’ with a preconceived notion of how it should occur and why.

When I think of an interaction, I think of it in this way (which of course is just psychology regurgitation):

1 -> We use language as a bridge to transfer knowledge from one person to another allowing us to begin to interact, interpret and relate with the information.

2 -> We use visual stimulation, combined with language, that allows us to form a more complete understanding of the information. We then start to form a stronger association with the information and it’s usefulness.

3 -> The “touch factor” or our tactual perceptions, the physical interaction with the technology and surroundings in which our interaction takes place builds upon the association formed by the language and visual stimuli.

4 -> Our sense of time, used to ‘place’ our interaction in a more concrete syntax, can help us associate with the information we are presented … again seeming to reinforce the influence of the first three stimuli.

5 -> Sound, which is uniquely tied to our previous experiences in life, again builds upon the other stimuli to create a more complete memory or perception of the information presented to us during our interaction.

6 -> Smell, which again seems to illicit strong associations with past experiences, finalizes our interpretation of the information presented to us during our interaction.

… and finally …

7 -> Our overall interpretation of the entire information presentation utilizing all our sensory and cognitive skills. Our interpretation/understanding of the information presented is then stored and processed for use to complete the interaction … meaning that we then act upon our understanding. In my mind these 7 items must be interpreted by each person before an actual ‘interaction’ can take place at all.

Thinking about it at this level helps me (and I am probably the only one) try to grasp the higher-level theories presented by Jeff, my classmates and the readings -and- most importantly why these 4 dimensions of languages have influenced the techno-culture in such a way. So this is my WTF stream of thought.


  1. houssian

    Nice Marty 🙂

    Let’s not leave out emotion here. The moments that change us forever, that we can remember with incredible detail are often those associated with strong emotions. I think Jeff mentioned this in class already, and I’m sure “the other” Marty will get to this in 541 soon enough. There aren’t many web sites or online experiences that touch you, change you, and leave you a different person (are there ANY? post a link).

    The other thing I would also mention is that I believe that language is the basis of rational cognition. Thinking on a sentient level requires language. So by taking the time to read and respond on the blog we put into words our thoughts. This kind of cognitive dump sharpens our thinking, and focuses our thoughts. Those things that surpass words, those emotions I was talking about, that sometimes we just don’t have the words to describe, these are altogether different, but not bad, or low, or better. This is strictly my opinion, and is one of those unprovable hypotheses.

  2. jeffreybardzell

    Excellent post Tim. One of the issues that gets contested is what you put down as number 1: that language is a bridge (or sometimes a “vessel”) passing information from one head to another. This is a common notion, used in information theory and many other places.

    But it’s not the only conceptualization. An alternate way of looking at things is to treat the communication artifact as a medium, and to focus on ways that the medium itself doesn’t merely affect the message, but is out and out constitutive of it. (Simple example: TV news is dramatically different than newspaper news. TV does not just superficially affect the news, it causes it; 9-11 probably wouldn’t have happened, at least not that way, were it not for television.)

    Anyway, I’m just planting a seed here, which will come up many times in the semester. There isn’t a single right answer; some answers work better in at different times.


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