Human-Computer-Text-Interaction (HCTI)

I’ve decided to create a specific category to deal with human interaction with text on a computer. Human-computer-interaction (HCI) doesn’t address it specifically though does subsume it, and human-agent-interaction (HAI) can just for being in the neighbourhood. So, posts under human-computer-text-interaction (HCTI) will look at how humans perceive, interpret, react to text on a screen. The areas of research that inform this area includes reader-response (RR), HCI, vision research, hypertext rhetoric, linguistics and so on. The name can be anything — suggest another or tell me if the area already has an official name. For a start I’ll pop in some quotes from eloquant anti-computer-literature writer Sven Birkerts:

??the sense of presence that literature seeks to create is primarily ? not exclusively ? focused on the private and social circumstance of the individual, and that this sense is fundamentally at odds with the electronic system that would store and present it.?

?The reader of the lines on the page performs the familiar conversion of printed word into auditory signal. For the person reading the poem on the screen there must be the subliminal awareness that the word has passed through an alchemical bath, has travelled a circuitry.?

Birkerts, S. (2003) ‘The Electric Word‘, The Atlantic Monthly Online, [Online] Available at:

1 Response to “Human-Computer-Text-Interaction (HCTI)”

  1. 1 Christy Dena

    Also in the background of HCTI is typography. The conventions, for instance, of whitespace in print: one space, for instance, after a full-stop and punctuation mark not two because they cause visual ‘rivers’. Whereas on a computer there are white-space conventions such as not needing a fullstop at all, especially in lists. A comma, semi-colon or fullstop in a list that is on a computer screen is often redundant. This is a consequence of the peculiar nature of text on a computer screen.

    Here is an interesting page on typography for webpages, though it leans more on the programming side (how to do what you can in Word) there are some points nevertheless.

    Then there is also the artistic experimentation with whitespace or blackspace in visual poetry and ASCII Art where space is utilised to highlight the overall effect of the text grouping. And there are many artists who use ‘words’ in their paintings. So, I should differentiate between the material and organic process that is occuring between the human eye-mind and screen-text, and the process of interpretation of words. I intend to further explore both.

    I could perhaps find some papers on the effects of reading off a computer-screen: CRT and LCD issues. I remember when I started with computers I had difficulty walking out into daylight for months. Did you know you can get ‘computer-vision syndrome‘? I must admit, though, that I’ve always been fascinated by back-lit images.

Leave a Reply

thesis writing service