John Seely Brown

In the information technology world we tend to make everything explicit. We don’t understand how to design for the sub-conscious mind – we design for the conscious mind and we only pay attention to content. But humans pay attention to context as well as content, that’s how we make sense out of the world. Indeed…content without context is often meaningless or dangerously mis-interpretable. When you are having a conversation you are paying as much attention to the body language, intonation, pauses and rhythm of the talker (all part of the context) as to the content. So what’s the equivalent of reading body language? In the physical or social worlds there are all kinds of subtle cues we unwittingly use to keep ourselves orientated. We can process astronomical amounts of information this way without feeling particularly stressed. IT overlooks this.

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