Welcome, readers from Metafilter and del.icio.us.
One point raised in the Metafilter discussion is whether the term ‘architectures of control’ is a sensible one for this phenomenon, and whether ‘architectures of control in design’ is a good title for the blog. I understand the issue; it’s something (clearly) I considered at length when starting my research. It’s not an especially succinct title, and the use of the ‘architectures’ term is potentially a source of confusion (or irritation) if the link between the design of environments and the design of products and systems is not fully appreciated:
“Architecture is the design and construction of buildings… The noun is never pluralized, nor ever used as a verb, gag, except by the designers of computer software and hardware who needed to appropriate the term because they wanted to make their jobs sound more impressive. This kind of business school speak – always reaching for the most portentous word available when a simple one would do the job just fine – drives me nuts. That is one reason I have difficulty with the title of his blog.
The second is that it is a redundancy: Design of control in design.”
First time I’ve ever been accused of business school speak! But the term ‘architectures of control’ has been in reasonably wide use for a while before my research; from my own point of view, I originally borrowed it from chapter 4 of Lessig’s Code & Other Laws of Cyberspace, as the central thesis here is pretty much that Lessig’s ‘code is law’ principle – relating specifically to the way the internet is structured – applies equally to any product, system or environment with which a user interacts. Anything can be designed to enforce and restrict behaviour. Applying programming analogies to hardware, or architectural analogies to software, or other combinations, can be a useful way of allowing different disciplines to understand each other. Or so it would be nice to think!
But is there a better term than ‘architectures of control’? I’m completely open to suggestions.
Update (19th Sept): The term apparently has enough currency for eBay affiliates to buy Google Adwords using it, e.g.
…but then they’re not always noted for the most sensible key-phrase choices!