Horrah for coming back to HCI!

So with the last question Jeff gave us for our in-class exercise on Thursday I was happy that we are starting to relate film theory and the philosophy stuff (which I have really enjoyed, don’t get me wrong!) back to HCI.  This was in fact a major drawback of a couple parts of a course I took last year, that we talked about good design, but then didn’t relate that to good HCI design.

So I haven’t thought on this deeply, but it doesn’t really matter too much for a little blog post, but it seems that there are some similarities between film and HCI:


Screen based, Author/creator has a large amount of control, use of color, lighting, sound, & music, very visual (at least today’s web is), can be seen simultaneously by thousands of people, widely disseminated


Use of narrative not found in many (most?) kinds of HCI, Interactivity, cinema is almost all one-way communication, near ubiquitous access to the web (you have to go to the movies, or buy the DVD or heaven forbid tape to watch a movie), actors not used in HCI, self-identification with characters, extensive use of different perspectives almost not found in HCI (except video-based formats of HCI of course!), cinema has WAY higher barriers to entry

Well obviously this is just a start, but really, it seems like there is something to be learned here, but I’m not quite there yet.

It seems that the great power of HCI contained in the interwebs is INTERACTIVITY, two-way communication, possibility for collaboration, possibility of being massively scalable, and the global nature (that can also be focused locally too) is barely touched on in film theory.  I’m sure you all can point out what I’m missing and share your insights here.


  1. thismarty

    I like your summary of interwebby HCI features, Aaron!

    I’d add a couple: persistence and asychrony. For the former term, taking Second Life as an example, what you create on it last between session and can (theoretically) never be destroyed, so long as back-ups are done. And for the latter terms, I can make things on SL (by mysef or along with other people), without having to do so at the same time.

  2. mingxian

    After reading this post, I got some questions in my mind.
    1. In film’s history, its audience those directors thought about was a group in a public environment. I think it is true, but I am not sure if it is true or not. After the widespread of those family equipments such as TV and computer, films were watched by individual audience more and more. As for HCI design, there is also this kind of difference in different situations. Most of early HCI design is faced to individual audience, and now people pay more and more attention to the social dynamics between audiences. When a movie was showed for a large group of people, we can use a big screen, the everybody can see what is going on. But for a HCI design, a physical production, maybe we need more physical extensions (accessories) to support the group dynamics….


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