MEX Notes: Technology As A Material

  • Source article: Technology As A Material
  • MEX note: This essay by Tom Armitage is a thoughtful exploration of how practitioners think about technology. Armitage proposes that technology can be understood as both a tool and a material:

    "Technology is not always a tool, an engineering substrate; it can be something to mould, to shape, to sculpt with. Materials have desires, affordances, and textures; they have grains. We can work with that grain, understanding what the material wishes to be, wishes to do – or we can deliberately choose to work against it. We must understand that grain and make a deliberate choice."

    Similar sentiments were expressed by Franco Papeschi in his May 2011 talk on MEX Pathway #7. Papeschi asked MEX participants to consider how they could improve their understanding of user experience techniques as materials. In doing so, they would be better equipped to use persuasive design to help customers lead more sustainable lives, just as the carpenter who truly understands the properties of wood is better equipped to make useful furniture.

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