Innovation, Programmable Media and the Human Computer Interface

Innovation, Programmable Media and the Human Computer Interface

William J. Gibbs (Department of Medias, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/IJEEI.2019010104

Abstract

In this article, the author examines fundamental principles or characteristics (e.g., programmability, modularity, variability) of digital media that make much of today's digital innovations possible. These precepts offer context for understanding the rapid and pervasive innovation currently taking place in society and, more specifically, how this innovation impacts trends in human computer interfaces. A focus of the article will be news-orientated interfaces. This article contrasts traditional informational sources such as newspapers and television news with digital interfaces. Finally, this article makes several observations regarding technology innovation that have bearing on the interaction experience of news consumers. This article categorized these observations broadly as rapid innovation, interaction, social interaction, scale, convergence, and Internet of Things and data.
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Introduction

The Web and other networked-based services are primary vehicles for news and information dissemination. It is estimated that 84% of households in developed countries and 43% of households in developing countries have Internet access and 70% of the world’s youth are online (ICT, 2017). The Pew Research Center (2018) reported that 93% of adults get some news online and that the digital space has become home for traditional news services as well as new types of services that originated on the web. While television news is the most widely used platform (57% of U.S. adults), many people (38%) get news from websites, news apps or social media and younger adults get news online more so than any other platform (Mitchell, Gottfried, Barthel & Shearer, 2016). Conaghan (2015, p. 1) noted that of the large portion of men and women who went online for news, half use mobile devices (smartphones or tablets). A majority of major news websites are finding that most of their traffic comes from mobile devices rather than from desktop computers (Mitchell & Page, 2015). Due in large part to mobile connectivity, people can obtain news instantaneously and become aware of worldwide events at any time of day or in any location around the world. People access news wirelessly on mobile devices, making news and information services portable, personalized, and participatory (Purcell, Rainie, Mitchell, Rosenstiel & Olmstead, 2010). The transformations taking place in news and information services magnify questions regarding the influence networked-based services have on newsreaders (Santana, Livingstone, & Cho, 2011). Researchers indicate that media are not solely transmitters of information, but they influence the process of thought (Carr, 2008; Purcell et al., 2010).

Online news content is frequently represented on digital displays as a highly dynamic interface characterized by a proliferation of media and interactivity that supersedes what is found in traditional informational sources such as newsprint or television news. Once comparatively simple and invariable, the human computer interface evolved into an ever changing front-end to a steady stream of dynamic content (Dobres, Wolfe, Chahine, & Reimer, 2018). Interfaces have never been so diverse or transformative. They present complex visual landscapes comprised of and supported by multimedia, communications, and networking technologies. Pervasive worldwide, they afford people an unprecedented degree of innovation, functionality and access to news, information services, and other people. The actions or ways in which users interact with modern human computer interfaces are diverse and include behaviors such as swiping, scaling, dragging scrolling, hovering, and flipping (Sundar, Bellur, Oh, Xu & Jia, 2014). Interfaces are a foundational technology that helped instigate tectonic shifts in news and information consuming behavior, journalistic reporting, and news preparation and distribution, the impact of which is not fully understood.

A focus of the paper is innovations in news-orientated human computer interfaces. I begin by reviewing attributes of traditional informational services such as newspapers and television. I then examine fundamental principles of digital media that serve as the genesis for much of today’s digital innovations. They provide context for understanding how this innovation impacts developments in the human computer interface. Finally, I make several observations regarding digital innovation that have bearing on the interaction experience news consumers have with digital content.

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