“interface as exordium”

Carnegie argues that the interface is “a rhetorical means for ensuring that the audience becomes and remains susceptible to persuasion” In other words, the interface of a new media text functions as an introduction in a print text.

Shares a definition of the interface with Wysocki and Jasken: “the interface is a place of interaction whether the interactions are between user and computer, user and software, computer and software, user and content, software and content, user and culture, and the user and other users”

The interface works in three ways (has three modes):

  1. Multidirectionality: includes hyperlinking and navigational paths, multi-directionality refers to “the roles users can play in a network” and “the degree to which messages relate back to previous messages.” It’s a difference between an exchange and an interxtual dialogue. Some examples include comment functions and review functions.
  2. Manipulability: refers to the modularity and changeability of digital objects: “They are easy to manipulate, and certain manipulations can be operationalized and automated. Its digital nature grants new media freedom from fixity such that it can be “adopted and used in unanticipated ways—reinvented, reconfigured, sabotaged, adapted, hacked, ignored.” Her best example comes with the customization of home screens through gadgets and themes
  3. Presence: a product of the integration of system attributes with user perceptions. System attributes include features such as speed; range, the number of actions the system makes available to the user; mapping, ‘the ability of a system to map its controls to changes in the mediated environment in a natural and predictable manner’” –> read: immediacy of a space, the representation of movement within a space, and connection to users in that space. In other words, how well does the space represent the attributes of face-to-face communication (verbal and non-veral cues) in communication situations.

Carnegie’s theory of interface is essentially evaluative, designed to make the interface visible by codifying its modes and functions (see: Wysocki and Jasken)

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