Monday, July 23, 2007

Computer science

The term "look and feel" is often used to refer to the specifics of a computer system's user interface. Using this as a metaphor, the "look" refers to its visual design, while the "feel" refers to its interactivity. Indirectly this can be regarded as an informal definition of interactivity.

A more detailed discussion of how interactivity has been conceptualized in the human-computer interaction literature, and how the phenomenology of the French philosopher Merleau-Ponty can shed light on the user experience, see (Svanaes 2000).

In computer science, interactive refers to software which accepts and responds to input from humans—for example, data or commands. Interactive software includes most popular programs, such as word processors or spreadsheet applications. By comparison, noninteractive programs operate without human contact; examples of these include compilers and batch processing applications. If the response is complex enough it is said that the system is conducting social interaction and some systems try to achieve this through the implementation of social interfaces.

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