New Interaction Rituals – getting the playful interfaces we deserve (Julian Bleecker)

Our main point of entry for interaction is the computer keyboard

Based on this work, the Gilbreths’ drew up a list of Standard Motions [1919]:

search / find / select / grasp / hold / position / assemble / use / disassemble / inspect / trnaposrt loaded / transport unloaded / pre-position for next operation / release load / unavoidable delay / avoidable delay / plan / rest to overcome fatigue

The Human is a “factor” in the computer interface. The interaction is about what the human sees, hears, and touches.

“Applications and tools define manners” [me] bq. “The interface defines the human” [Paul Dourish]

“I want to move away from the keyboard/display, and towards something that’s personal, and that exhibits part of their own personality.”

Efficiency triumphs in the canonical user interface

New interaction rituals need new computational practices.

Where do you start?

“games as ways to think of new computational practices”

[on a room of people playing videogames] “this is a weird play experience – sitting watching a limited number of people playing in the dark. This does not seem playful to me”

Think about the larger scale:


Slow instant messaging.

IM and messaging services like twitter/jaiku are making time very efficicent – let me know when a thing is happening (“x is typing a message” lets you even see the future.)

Slow IM – delivers slowly over time, demonstrating comittment through exertion/time necessary to get the messge.

Gesture Tag

Tag gesture – arms outstretched – is very much like key/mouse gesture.


Computing and the interfaces that mediate our interactions discipline us for particular kinds of social practices. These practices derive from an episteme of efficiency and minimization. But that episteme is pre-historical and due for a polite coup. Interfaces can grow beyond those designed for the bricklayer.