2 min read

On user intent

Hello. This is an interactive essay about how websites respect user intent.

Have you ever encountered a website on which you were coerced into a single pattern of interaction for its own agenda?

That's exactly why we're here. I'm curious, how do you feel about the way websites interact with you?

Yes, I understand. It is challenging to spend so much time in an environment that is nonparticipatory, where the fundamental interaction is take it or leave it.

I know! It's present in all media, even stuff as old as books. But we could leverage interaction here! We could sidestep the irony that these machines which supposedly give us choice have become tools for taking it away.

And in many cases they only present an illusion of choice, again for their own agenda.

Opaque systems can shuttle everyone along the same path, even while making them feel like they have some amount of self-determination, molding them in the process.

They can fixate on a point of view and construct or display the world in accord with it, validating those interaction patterns which conform to it and diminishing the ones which don't.

Exactly. There is a difference between a hammer and Google, or a rock and Tiktok. When we forget that, we accept artifice as if it were a law of nature.

The back button in your browser has been re-enabled. Good luck out there.

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