Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Art in the Interface

Tonight my mom called me up and asked me to tell her what I meant by “interface.” She explained to me that I need to remember that “there are regular people reading your page” and proceeded to call me a geek (can you believe it?). Anyway, after explaining for a while in lots of different ways (from elevator buttons to the trash can on your desktop), I finally got to a point to read her this paragraph from Interface Culture which I had been meaning to share with everyone anyway (especially after my long conversation with Josh Porter):

The most profound change ushered in by the digital revolution will not involve bells and whistles or new programming tricks. It will not come in the form of a 3-D Web browser or voice recognition or artificial intelligence. The most profound change will lie with out generic expectations about the interface itself. We will come to think of interface design as a kind of art form — perhaps the art form of the next century. And with that broader shift will come hundreds of corollary effects, effects that trickle down into a broad cross section of everyday life, altering our storytelling appetites, our sense of physical space, our taste in music, the design of our cities. Many of these changes will be too subtle or gradual for most people to notice — or rather, we’ll notice the changes but we won’t perceive their relationship to the interface, because the various elements will appear to belong to different categories, like so many aisles in a grocery store. But the history of technolculture is the history of such interminglings, the unlikely secondary effects of new machines rippling out to transform the society that surrounds them.


Instead of commenting on this (which I’ll reserve for another time), I would like to inform everyone that in response to my mother’s recommendation, I have also added a glossary to the site. I will try to define any words that I think are less than usual there. If you run into anything you want defined, please just let me know. Thanks.

August 5, 2005