• “Computer science strives to master complexity by creating abstract representations that describe elements of systems in the most general terms that most accurately describe their most salient features… To describe items (apples, bananas, grapes) in a single abstraction, we might choose fruit, food, or grocerites depending on the context… Fruit would be the best term for establishing…common qualities such as sweetness or perishability…IF we want to add other items, then food would be a good choice” (Murray).
  • “Computer programs are judged by how efficiently and reliably they perform. Programmers aim for robustness, for not failing under a variety of error-inducing conditions… and for scalability, for being able to accommodate more users, more data, and more related procedures without having to be reengineered” (Murray).
  • “Because we are attuned to the spatial characteristics of digital environments, users assume that spatial positioning is meaningful and related to function. If an item calls attention to itself with a different color or size we will try to touch it or click on it, assuming that it has some behavior or link associated with it. If two items are next to one another on a lis, we will assume that they are parallel and behave in similar ways. Designers must therefore be careful not to introduce purely decorative elements that resemble icons or linked text” (Murray).


  • Four properties of the computer: encyclopedic, spatial, procedural, and participatory
  • Procedural Property: ability to represent and execute conditional behaviors
  • Eliza was a computer that could talk back to people and have conversations with them (human-computer interaction/HCI)
  • Situated action theory (pre-scripted plans) vs. machine model (humans and machines are constantly reconstructing their shared understanding of the task at hand, like a GPS that adjusts when you take a wrong turn)
  • Good graphic design links an item with its functions

Thoughts: I thought the difference between situated action theory and the machine model are interesting because though I was aware of their differences, I had never really considered the digital programming that went into them. It was also interesting to relate this idea to Eliza, who is a machine model because it is a computer that can interact with and have conversations with humans. I believe that our ability to create procedural properties is growing, and we are gaining more experience in this field as time goes on. 

Questions to Consider:

  • What are other examples of machines models? Are video games examples of the machine model? 
  • What are some other important elements of graphic design in digital media?


Murray, Janet. “Affordances of the Digital Medium.” (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 19 Sept. 2016.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>