Data as Script: A Critical Lens for Interface Production

Geoff Hinchcliffe
2011 Conference

As a means of understanding interface design as a creative practice this paper explores the concept of data as script through a comparative analysis of a range of interface designs for a social networking service. The analysis reveals much about the nature of the data script, which is shown to be defined by its structures and data types rather than its fleeting user content. In representing the script, it is demonstrated that interface designers, like the producers of a theatre or cinema production, treat the script as a source to be interpreted and adapted for particular contexts. The conspicuous interfaces celebrate poetic representation and challenge conventional interface aims of ease and invisibility, offering instead novel adaptations and critical perspectives of a familiar source. More than a convenient metaphor, the script analogy redefines interface design as a creative process and connects it with established fields of creative production and critical evaluation.

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About the author

Geoff Hinchcliffe is an academic and designer/media-artist in the Faculty of Arts & Design at the University of Canberra. Since graduating from the ANU School of Art he has worked as a commercial graphic designer in print publication, web/interactive media, and broadcast graphics. His current research practice focuses on the creative and aesthetic dimensions of the computer interface. His experimental design work parallels his theoretical research, and explores poetic modes of interface communication. He is currently involved in a research project visualising the NGA’s Australian prints collection, and another with Rob Foster (f!nk) addressing the aesthetics of data representation in physical and lighting forms. His refereed papers have been published in proceedings for Cumulus 38ºSouth, the International Symposium of Electronic Art, Designs on eLearning and the ACUADS national conference.