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de Souza, C. S. (1993). The semiotic engineering of user interface languages. International Journal of Man-Machine Studies, 39(5), 753–773. 
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard (9/27/05, 12:17 PM)   
Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: deSouza1993
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Categories: Semiology
Creators: de Souza
Collection: International Journal of Man-Machine Studies
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"Semiotic approaches to design have recently shown that systems are messages sent from designers so [sic] users. In this paper we examine the nature of such messages and show that systems are messages that can send and receive other messages -- they are metacommunication arefacts that should be engineered according to explicit semiotic principles. User interface languages are the primary expressive resource for such complex communication environments. Existing cognitively-based research has provided results which set the target interface designers should hit, but little is said about how to make successful decisions during the process of design itself. In an attempt to give theoretical support to the elaboration of user interface languages, we explore Eco's Theory of Sign Production (U. Eco, A Theory of Semiotics, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1976) and build a semiotic framework within which many design issues can be explained and predicted."
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard  
An argument for the role of semiotics (in addition to and supportive of cognition) in HCI design. Some useful models and diagrams (mainly treating the visual aspects (icons) of computer systems) that have implications for game audio design if such audio is understood as a message.
Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard  Last edited by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard
pp.753–754   Points out that systems are a metacommunication artefact -- they can not only send and receive messages, but are also messages themselves (from designer to user) -- and therefore "must be engineered according to explicit semiotic principles."   Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard
p.754   "When users realize they are not interacting with autonomous machines, but with a rational product of a human mind, they can resort to a wealth of beliefs and expectations they have regarding the intellectual and creative behaviours of other people."   Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard
p.756   In a further discussion of computers as metacommunication artefacts and contrasting this to the arts, de Souza suggests that "computer messages are not typically intended to elicit a variety of emotions in users, but quite contrarily a reduced number of rational alternative meanings for each message."   Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard
p.760   "Semiotic Engineering is the process of engendering messages in an appropriate code -- i.e. with emphasis on message expression -- so that the content interpretation targets suggested by cognitively-oriented research can be met. The articulation between Semiotic and Cognitive Engineering is one in which the latter provides experimental data, explanations and predictions that are in accordance with the contributive principles of the former."   Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard
p.762   Paraphrasing Eco*: "Significant communication occurs whenever a human being (i.e an agent capable of interpreting a code) perceives a message sent by the transmitter", de Souza explains that in this communicative framework, the fundamental requirement "is that the message be coded in a signification system. Communication can only take place if the interpreter recognizes the sign(s) being passed as part of a culturally established code."

* Umberto Eco, A Theory of Semiotics, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1976   Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard
p.764   "...given a set of contents to be conveyed, existing recognizable signs make better expressions than invented ones."   Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard
p.761   An apt reminder that the compsci term 'icon' is actually, in semiotic terms, a combination of icons, indices and symbols. Hence some confusion.   Added by: Mark Grimshaw-Aagaard