Commentary: Interactivity – agency, pace and attention

Alan Dix

HCI Centre, University of Birmingham, UK
Talis, Birmingham, UK

Commentary on "The meaning of interactivity—some proposals for definitions and measures", Lars-Erik Janlert and Erik Stolterman (Human-Computer Interaction).

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This commentary discusses the article "The meaning of interactivity—some proposals for definitions and measures" by Lars-Erik Janlert and Erik Stolterman (Human-Computer Interaction).  This article is very timely as user interfaces are at an interesting nexus between direct manipulation paradigms, which offer interactivity, and notification-based systems, which demand interactivity.  Neither seems to capture the spirit of man-computer symbiosis (sic) in Licklider's vision over 50 years ago [Li60]. This is precisely the interactability dimension introduced in the article.

Janlert and Stolterman  raise many fascinating issues: for example, the idea of fixed time budgets, although work on early email uptake [FO89] and anecdotal evidence on Facebook use suggest this may not be true for communication technologies. The article also resonated with so many areas I have worked on in the past and in this commentary I will pick up a few of these threads from my own work and those of others.

Keywords: human-comouter interaction, interactivity, agency, pace and attention.


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Alan Dix 17/9/2016