The Invisibility of Interfaces

Defining Interface


Interface as Strategy

Visibility – The best interface is the one that you do not see. Invisible does not mean natural, in existent or spontaneous.

Beyond the Media – Interfaces is a concept that works for whatever surface or platform. It can even be imitated. New media imitate older interfaces to make them easier for users to understand and to operate. Interfaces also combine and fusion with each other.


Across the media ecosystem – the ideas of fusion of interfaces and imitation opens a discussion about technologies, media and stories that do not stop at one device. Can we distinguish the history of cinema from the history of TV or the television series?

Convergence of interfaces – these interactions between interfaces open strands of research. We can start to figure out how to explore the media transformations. The media convergence is easier to see and to differentiate. The historical change of technologies can be perceived as a transformation of the ways information is collected, accessed, shared and interacted with. It also allows us to critically approach the issue of the design of the interface as a discussion about access, (dis)enabling and power.

Prehistoric Interfaces

  • Graffiti
  • Tablets
  • Wax
  • Scrolls
  • Silk
  • Leather
  • Parchment
  • Vellum
  • Codex
  • Books
  • Paper

Interfaces of the Public Sphere

  • Newspapers
  • Comics
  • Cartoons
  • Images
  • Drawings
  • Books


19th Century ideas of future interfaces

  • Underwater boats driven/carried by whales (as seen in the image above)
  • Steampunk inspiration
  • nautical inspiration

Interfaces of Consumption (Then and Now)

  • Typewriter –> Laptop
  • Paper pad –> notes on iPad/tablet
  • Index cards –> apps (address book app)
  • Briefcase –> the Cloud
These notes are from my semester one lectures and seminars.
I do not own the above images, they are from:,,, and

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