ブラウザ・デザイン

Geert Lovink: speculative software--an interview with I/O/D


RHIZOME DIGEST: May 1, 1998に掲載されたGeert Lovinkのブラウザ・デザイン現場のインタビューが掲載された。この考え方には共感する部分もあり、営利目的でない場合は転載自由ということであるから、ここに全文を掲載する。ただし、データベース管理上問題になる文字は近い文字に変換し、URLはリンクするように設定した。また、この論文をどのように読むかは読者自身で判断して欲しい。Telephiaは2006年8月14日に、米国でモバイル・インターネット・ユーザーが増え続けていると報告した。例えば米国Device Census Reportは、2006年第2四半期で3,460万人以上のモバイル・ウェブユーザーがいたと報告し、Yahoo Mailがもっともよく知られ、650万人が利用していた。その他では、The Weather Channel が580万人、ESPNが530万人、Google Searchが440万人、MSN Hotmailが340万人であったと報告している。その他にもMapQuest、CNN、AOL Mail、Yahoo Mail以外のYahooサイトにモバイル・インターネット・ユーザーが集まっていて、そこには別に、モバイルだからという特有の設計が見られないと報告している。のように、携帯電話専用デザインを要求するユーザーは少なくなり、どんどんインターネットに進出しているようで、これは、見にくい、デザインが汚いなど、携帯電話専用デザインへの不満の結果といえる。Telephiaも、すべてのモバイル・ユーザーが直接Webサイトにアクセスし、モバイル専用サイトを要求していないことが裏付けられたと報告している。携帯電話やWi-Fiなどの無線通信環境がどんどん改善されていることから、これまでの携帯電話用ゲームのコンテンツも変わってくる。ただし、せっかく女性に受けたゲームは難しくなるのでは無く、これから美しさが求められる。モバイル・ブラウザでは、「Openwave」が27%でトップ、続いてモトローラ(Motorola)社のブラウザが24%、ノキア(Nokia)社のブラウザが13%であったと報告している。その他ではAccess NetFront社の9%、Teleca AU社の6%、Sony Ericsson社の5%、RIM社の5%、Blazer社の4%、Samsung社の3%、Microsoft社の3%、Danger社の2%と続いている。ここでもMicrosoft社のブラウザが苦戦している。PC MagazineはTelephiaのレポートに対し、1月が31.4%であったのに対し、6月は34.3%に成長しただけで、急激に伸びたのではなく、着実の成長していると言うべきだと注意している。詳細情報はURL(http://www.telephia.com/documents/InternetandDeviceReleaseJune2006v68.14.06FINAL.pdf)または、URL(http://www.computerweekly.com/Articles/2006/08/15/217631/Mobile+web+access+tackled.htm)で知ることができる。

[This interview with Simon Pope, Colin Green and Matthew Fuller of I/O/D, conducted by Geert Lovink, first appeared on nettime. It was given on occassion of the First International Browser Day URL(http://www.waag.org), Amsterdam, April 17th, 1998. I/O/D are makers of the Web Stalker, an internet browser.]

Geert Lovink: 'Everybody is a browser designer'--but it is not everyman's hobby to build one (yet). Where does the idea, to create one's own browser, come from? Normally, designers are working with content and have to make it look nice. But now there is the new profession of the 'interaction designer.' Are you one of those? Are you techno determinists, who believe that the shape of the interfaces is determining the actual information?

Matthew Fuller: Hmm, this is one of those statements along the lines of 'Jederman ist ein kunstler.' (Joseph Beuys) These statements sound democratic, but actually have the subtext of meaning *Everyone wants to be like me--the great man!*

No, not everyone is a browser designer for sure. And certainly it would be unwise to want to be like us. People should actually have aspirations right? The idea of making another piece of software to use the web with came about for a few reasons. First of all, I/O/D had been working with different ideas of interface and a general praxis around speculative reinvention of the computer anyway. Secondly, we were bored by all the hype. Thirdly, we knew it could be done, but didn't have the skills of the knowledge to do it properly--so we had to do it.

As for being techno determinists? I guess we are interested in finding this out. What comes into play using the web? The material on the URL being used, which encompasses the programs, skills and materials used to put it together as well as the specific items of data; then the actual hard infrastructure--computers, servers, telephone lines, modems and of course the software running on them, (in short, bandwidth considerations); then the software being used to access the web--a great big pile on top of which sits the Browser, terminal viewer or whatever. All of these elements and how they mix determine to some extent the nature of the interaction.

One of the things that drove us to make the Web Stalker was that we, and pretty much everyone else, don't really use web-sites in the way that they are supposed to be used. Whether it's switching off gifs or blocking cookies or whatever there's an element of street knowledge that you use to get to the stuff that you really want. We made the Web Stalker to work in the same kind of way. It's designed to be predatory and boredom-intolerant. At the same time though, we hope that as a piece of *speculative software* it just encourages people to treat the net as a space for re-invention.

Geert Lovink: Web Stalker is showing us the backstage of the browers. Could you explain us how it actually works?

Simon Pope: the Web Stalker moves only within the limits of html space. any co-conspirators needs to be fore-armed with at least one URL which refers to an html document. give this to the 'crawler,' and the stalker begins its process of parsing, hungrily searching for links to other html resources. initiating a 'map' window, opens a channel onto this process, through which urls are graphically represented as circles and links as lines. the stalker will thrive on known links and resources--as long as each html document contains a link to another html document, the stalker will live. pitch it into a netscape, microsoft, macromedia or java-only space and it will soon perish.

Colin Green: When we began to use the stalker as our primary web-access software, we became aware of the extent to which html has become a site of commercial contention. Browsers made by the two best-know players frame most peoples' experience of the web. This is a literal framing. whatever happens within the window of explorer, for instance, is the limit of possibility. HTML is, after-all, a mark-up language which indicates structure and intention of a document.

Geert Lovink: but is the web stalker not also a bit protestant, in the sense of anti-image and pro code?

Matthew Fuller: The Web Stalker establishes that there are other potential cultures of use for the web. The aesthetic conventions of current Browsers are based on the discipline of Human Computer Interface Design. To describe the predelictions of this approach to interface you only have to note that the default background colour in page-construction programs is grey. Progress is marked by the incremental increase of fake drop-shadow on windows. Here, the normal user is only ever the normalised user. Time to mutate.

For us, software must also develop some kind of relationship to beauty. This can in one sense be taken as something that only happens in the eyes. But it is also something that happens at a level that is also profoundly interwoven with politics in the development of these potential cultures of use. It is in this sense that we call The Web Stalker 'speculative' software. It is not setting itself as a universal device, a proprietary switching system for the general intelligence, but a sensorium--a mode of sensing, knowing and doing on the web that makes its propensities clear.

Rather than taking an ascetic view we see that a key problem with the Browsers is that they don't allow the Spew to manifest itself *enough*. This software is a call for the voluptuation of the nets and everything they connect to. As the union leader Big Bill Heywood used to say, stroking his belly and sucking on a tasty dog-shit-sized cigar: Nothing's too good for the proletariat.

Geert Lovink: How do you see the Amsterdam effort of the 'International Browser Day' in all this?

Matthew Fuller: For us, the Browser Day is a very useful initiative. Once the breach has been made, proving that the net can be used and developed in ways largely at variance with the proprietary browsers and the interests they maintain, the floodgates can *potentially* open. A thousand different net sensoriums can be launched. The Browser Day is important because it was done in a way that was at once informed by both technique and theory without priviliging either and done in a populist celebratory manner. It's not just done to force the didactic proof that software can be *exciting* but also that people can make actual, rather than virtual, reconfigurations of ways of seeing, knowing and doing.

URL(http://www.waag.org)
URL(http://www.backspace.org/iod)
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