Mark Hurrell

Politics and UI

Always interesting to hear how other areas of the design industry feel about your thing:

Look at the stealthily political arguments made by the aesthetics and functioning of Apple's iOS apps. The nasty faux-leather trim of the Calendar app, for instance, projects me into the stifling psychic space of a 1970s mid-level executive and quietly encourages me to conduct my professional and social life accordingly. When I turn on the Do Not Disturb feature, I get an unhide able crescent moon in the info bar, as though it's somehow OK to disturb me at any moment as long as the sun is shining. And the fact that the phone number app is called Contacts shores up the weird modern hegemony of this term - according to Melissa Gregg's brilliant book Work's Intimacy - is designed deliberately to blur the distinction between the categories of 'colleague' and 'friend', so that the workplace feels like our emotional home.

Dig deep enough, in other words, and we find that not just all games but all software has buried political, social and cultural biases for which they implicitly argue.

Steven Poole in Edge Magazine #254

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