As technologies change, the way we interact with the scholarly literature and the types of information conveyed continue to evolve. Interface design (#33 on this list) is an area where publishers continue to experiment, whether Rockefeller University Press’ Data Viewer or eLife’s Lens (#74).

This is not a problem limited to scholarly publishers, and the video below, from the always fascinating Every Frame A Painting website takes a look at the evolving ways that filmmakers depict text messaging and online activities in movies. The key here, as it always is in design:

Remember: cheap, efficient and elegant.

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is a Senior Consultant at Clarke & Esposito, a boutique management consulting firm focused on strategic issues related to professional and academic publishing and information services. Previously, David was the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He oversaw journal policy across OUP’s journals program, drove technological innovation, and served as an information officer. David acquired and managed a suite of research society-owned journals with OUP, and before that was the Executive Editor for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, where he created and edited new science books and journals, along with serving as a journal Editor-in-Chief. He has served on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc., as well as The AAP-PSP Executive Council. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.


4 Thoughts on "Interface Design: How We Depict Texting and the Internet in Film"

Another good reference is Nathan Shedroff’s “Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons from Science Fiction”.

Why the “Sherlock” treatment works so well is that it erases the technology to a high degree and boils down the experience to thought. There is a touch of sound, and the font choice is ideal, but otherwise it’s treated as something the character is seeing and has to think about. This preserves the narrative flow, matches the experience we have in which the technology of communication tends to vanish as we become immersed, etc. Smart design is also about finding a shared experience.

I think there’s a sense of intimacy in the Sherlock texts, which mimics the mobile experience.

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