We are spending more and more time working in graphical user interfaces. Many people work daily in a computer environment, and many spend more time in this digital activity room than with their colleges. Working with a computer can be expressed simply as handling specific software with its icons, menus and tool pallets. A more compound and, to my way of thinking, more precise picture, is that the work is taking place in graphical planes or rooms imagined by the individual and featured in the graphical user interface. These computer environments co-operate or work with other software and interfaces, and with the physical room.
In this article the topic is how computer software is experienced as a workplace. The content is based on a master study in Educational Science at The University of Stockholm, Sweden. This study is about what the user regards as specific for working within a graphical interface.
• How does the interface appear to the user?
• In what way does the computer environment co-operate with the physical surroundings?
The purpose of this article is, on the basis of some persons’ statements and experiences, to elucidate some aspects of how people use and shape their computer work environment and how this environment co-operates with their physical offices. How people acts in these digital landscapes and which consequences the computer work can have for the experience of work quality and comfort.
The graphical user interface – the function of the form
This article focuses on what some computer users meet in their daily work: the presentation of the computer programs’ functions and possibilities in a graphical interface.
A social constructionist view
The study is based on a constructivist view on the user in relation to her tools and her culture. The user creates her own knowledge in dialogue and interaction with a cultural and social context.