The Interface: A relationship between human and machine (2016)

Dissertation by Janina Neumann

Contents

Chapter 1 Design for fulfilling human needs

1.1 Drive for contribution

1.2 Enhancing performance

1.3 The attribute of emotions

1.4 Distinguishing needs from desires

C
hapterInterface design for human understanding

2.1 Sensory design

2.2 Design for learning

Chapter 3 Changes to current interface design concepts

3.1 Design for user competency

3.2 The importance of aesthetics

3.3 Enchanted objects

3.4 Virtual Reality as an interface

3.5 A smartphone as an interface

3.6 The seventh Kingdom of Life

3.7 Interoperability

3.8 Tailoring to individual user attributes

3.9 Online and offline tools

Chapter 4 The fears associated with the post-human

4.1 The cyborg

4.2 Social responsibility

4.3 Cyberfeminism

4.4 The user at the centre of the universe

Introduction

Technology is a dominant factor in human life, because it addresses and resolves human weaknesses, such as tiredness, logical errors and emotional judgement. Humans, therefore, use technology as a tool for insight and amplifying personal performance through increasing the work completed, as well as fulfilling a user specific desire that contributes to their self-actualisation. The vast majority of users could not control the technology at its essence, the machine components, and hence, it is the role of the interface to sustain a functional relationship between user and technology. Traditional tools cannot identify its user and thus, there are predetermined sequences of actions that the user has to abide to, whereas technology can identify and adapt its behaviour according to the action of each individual user. The technology’s behaviour is then communicated through the interface, yet for the technology to identify its user correctly, the interface needs to allow the user to behave in the most natural way possible to ensure a correct communication of the user’s desire. This study will, hence, examine the fundamental human attributes of learning and interaction, in order to form future interface design concepts that achieve a functional relationship between human and machine. Current technological capabilities can strategically fulfil the user’s desires through complex algorithms, though it is unfulfilling for humans to work with an interface that reflects a machine-like concept model with strict, non-negotiable rules. These elements can have drastic negative effects on the human-technology

Current technological capabilities can strategically fulfil the user’s desires through complex algorithms, though it is unfulfilling for humans to work with an interface that reflects a machine-like concept model with strict, non-negotiable rules. These elements can have drastic negative effects on the human-technology relationship, because they do not account for mankind’s subconscious, which causes pre-attentive thoughts and actions. A current technological interface is designed for users that are able to multi-task with full concentration on each action, without making a mistake, and this is a fatal design flaw. This factor is the reason for technology being a dominant stress factor with its synthetic sounds and options for constant availability to communicate and to work. Technology should provide the user with insight into complex data through an interface that is ambient and compliments human attributes. The interface should, thus, be immersive and fully engaging by encapsulating the user’s full attention through sensory cues, because the five senses are the tools that enable humans to understand the world. With sensory cues as a focal point of an interface, it is fundamental to consider the interface’s aesthetics and the technology’s offline capabilities as part of an environment rather than as a dominating, separate entity. Moreover, hardware developers and designers have an ethical imperative to address this currently dysfunctional relationship between humans and technology by working in collaboration on the design of the interface. Such collaboration would ensure that the user understands the basic concept of how the hardware corresponds to the interface and hence, allow the user to adapt the technological tools to their individual desires. This also means that the technological interface should allow the user to adjust the tools according to their technological competency in order to improve usability. If technology primarily exists to fulfil the desire of its user, then the ethical issues of commercialising

A current technological interface is designed for users that are able to multi-task with full concentration on each action, without making a mistake, and this is a fatal design flaw. This factor is the reason for technology being a dominant stress factor with its synthetic sounds and options for constant availability to communicate and to work. Technology should provide the user with insight into complex data through an interface that is ambient and compliments human attributes. The interface should, thus, be immersive and fully engaging by encapsulating the user’s full attention through sensory cues, because the five senses are the tools that enable humans to understand the world. With sensory cues as a focal point of an interface, it is fundamental to consider the interface’s aesthetics and the technology’s offline capabilities as part of an environment rather than as a dominating, separate entity.

Moreover, hardware developers and designers have an ethical imperative to address this currently dysfunctional relationship between humans and technology by working in collaboration on the design of the interface. Such collaboration would ensure that the user understands the basic concept of how the hardware corresponds to the interface and hence, allow the user to adapt the technological tools to their individual desires. This also means that the technological interface should allow the user to adjust the tools according to their technological competency in order to improve usability. If technology primarily exists to fulfil the desire of its user, then the ethical issues of commercialising user generated data needs to be addressed. The user should not be forced to compensate their privacy for the fulfilment of their desires, which could lead to self-actualisation and ultimately impacting humanity in a positive way. Similarly, the interface designer needs to evaluate the possible fears triggered through the notion of the post-human, where technology becomes an embodiment of human life and how this embodiment can cause a shift in humans’ role within nature’s ecosystem.