Week 8: Drucker’s “Humanities Approach to Interface Theory”

After reading Johanna Druckerโ€™s article, โ€œHumanities Approach to Interface Theory,โ€ it is evident that interface is important aspect of the computer design process. According to Drucker, interface is a concept that has only received attention in the last fifty years. Many people tend to think of an interface as โ€œa thing, an entity, a fixed or determined structure that supports certain activities, tends to reify in the same way a book does in traditional descriptionโ€ (Drucker 8). Furthermore, Drucker argues a codex book is not a thing but a โ€œstructured set of codes that support or provoke an interpretation that is itself a performative โ€œ (8).

Although Drucker focuses on the aspect of comic book design, there are many other examples of interface design. A very common and relatable interface is Appleโ€™s iOS system and use of apps. Apple pioneered the use of GUI (graphical user interface) which has become mainstream with the release of the iPhone in 2009. As a result of apps, we are able to quickly and efficiently access information.

Do you think interfaces have improved the computer design process? What are some other examples of interfaces?


2 thoughts on “Week 8: Drucker’s “Humanities Approach to Interface Theory”

  1. Drucker actually mentions the iPhone in her “frame analysis” section, and this really helped me to see a clearer picture of the interface and frames. She says, once we dive into a specific application, “a user is plunged into the complex world of interlocking frames” (Drucker 7) where she goes on to explain the relations within those digital environments are “reorganized and rearranged” (Drucker 7). In this light, I can only see the interface improving computer design as a way to create not only an environment for its subject, but develops a form of relationship between the two, which is an incredible feat.

    I started thinking about Siri as an interface, where “she” is capable of mimicking human verbal attributes (to the extent of her program, that is). We even refer to it as a “she” or “he”, so does this take the relations of interfaces to a new level?


    1. Hi Danielle,

      The iPhone or iOS system is an excellent example of an interface as it is a system which is commonly used in today’s society. One could argue that the majority of people use iPhones and the iOS system because they are generally more beneficial than other current technologies. To answer your question, I do think that interfaces like “Siri” take relations of interfaces to a new level. It is interesting to see how advanced interfaces have become and how they will be further developed in the future.


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