The prisoner and the catalog

From an interview with Edward Tufte:

Probably the only generalization about the Internet is that there is none, which is to say that users can have nearly any experience they desire. Internet users are not prisoners - they are responsible for their experience since they can generate nearly any experience they wish (other than an in-depth historical analysis). [An interview with Edward R.Tufte, Technical Communications Quarterly, 13(4), 447-462. 2004. PDF]
I wonder do users sometimes feel like prisoners inside our information systems and catalogs. They bump into walls all the time, and can do little to manage their experience.

Reference to article spotted on xBlog: the visual thinking weblog.

Comments: 2

May 15, 2005
Paul Miller

Can I submit an emphatic Yes vote, both as a user and as an occasional observer of other users?

May 19, 2005
Nick Baker

Ironically, it takes tremendously more effort for the designer to give the user a freer experience. Of course, this is true of good design in general, as Tufte has so often pointed out.