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Which clippings match 'Usefulness' keyword pg.1 of 1
27 MARCH 2015

Universal Design‬: The World Comfortable for All



design experience • design of human-made objects • design principles • designing for different ability • designing for disability • disability discriminationform and functionHCIhuman-computer interaction design • learnability • mainstream policies • mainstream services • measuring usability • mechanical objects • people with disabilities • perceived efficiency • perceived elegance • physical interaction • policies and services • product design • rights of persons with disabilities • shaping our relationship to the material worldtangible interfacesUkraine • United Nations Childrens Fund • United Nations Development Programme • United Nations in Ukraine • universal designusability • usability studies • usability study • usefulnessuser experience • user satisfaction • utilitarian value


Simon Perkins

Aesthetic disinterestedness: axiom of modern Western aesthetics

"The concept of aesthetic disinterestedness is surely one of the axioms of modern Western aesthetics, if not its central principle. Developed mainly in the eighteenth century in the writings of Alison, Shaftesbury, Addison, Hutcheson and others of the British school, the notion of disinterestedness denoted the perception of an object 'for its own sake.' This central idea became the mark of a new and distinctive mode of experience called the aesthetic, a kind of experience that was distinguished from more common modes, such as practical, cognitive, moral, and religious experience. During the same century many of these writers grouped what we now call the fine arts into a generally accepted set in which they were all organized by the same principles and could be compared with one another.[1] Finally, in the latter part of the century and especially in Germany, the general theory of the fine arts achieved the status of a separate discipline and, in the work of Kant, came to occupy a distinct and integral place in a philosophical system. Kant's formulation of disinterestedness is generally regarded as definitive:

'...[T]aste in the beautiful is alone a disinterested and free satisfaction; for no interest, either of sense or of reason, here forces our assent...Taste is the faculty of judging of an object or a method of representing it by an entirely disinterested satisfaction or dissatisfaction. The object of such satisfaction is called beautiful.'[2]

...What might we say is the historical significance of aesthetic disinterestedness? Disinterestedness served to identify intrinsic normative experience. As first developed it was used in a moral context to help the recognition of things and actions that were good in themselves, apart from their usefulness. Thus Shaftesbury, who, along with Hutcheson and Alison, was one of the principal contributors to this view, contrasted 'the disinterested love of God,' a love pursued for its own sake, with the more common motive of serving God 'for interest merely.' The disinterested love of God has, then, value that is entirely intrinsic.[3] When applied to the experience of beauty, it denoted the same recognition of intrinsic value. There is a valid insight here, for we often find ourselves valuing a work of art for its own sake. Somehow the value of good art seems to be self-contained. The work commands respect and admiration in itself, apart from practical considerations such as monetary value, the conferring of social status, or its association with the hand of genius."

(Arnold Berleant and Ronald Hepburn, Contemporary Aesthetics)

[1] Paul Oskar Kristeller, "The Modern System of the Arts," in Renaissance Thought II (New York: Harper & Row, 1965), pp. 163-227.

[2] Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment (l790), Sect. 5. For an extended critical account see A. Berleant, "The Historicity of Aesthetics I," The British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol.26, No.2 (Spring 1986), 101-111; "The Historicity of Aesthetics II," The British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol.26, No.3 (Summer 1986), 195-203; and "Beyond Disinterestedness." The British Journal of Aesthetics, 34/3 (July 1994).

[3] Anthony, Earl of Shaftesbury, Characteristics, ed. Robertson (London, 1900), II, 55, 56. The definitive discussion of this history is Jerome Stolnitz, "On the Origins of 'Aesthetic Disinterestedness'," The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, XX, 2 (Winter 1961), 131-143. The history of the idea of disinterestedness continues to be debated. See my Art and Engagement, Ch. 1, esp. n. 3, pp. 215-216.


18th centuryaesthetic disinterestednessaesthetic experienceaesthetics • Anthony Ashley-Cooper • appreciative experience • Archibald Alison • Arnold Berleantart for arts sakebeauty • British school • cognitive experience • critique of human actions • Dabney Townsend • David Hume • disinterested love • disinterested satisfaction • disinterestedness • dissatisfaction • experience of beauty • fine arts • Francis Hutcheson • George Dickie • god • human creations • Immanuel Kant • intrinsic normative experience • intrinsic value • Jerome Stolnitz • John Locke • Joseph Addison • judgement • moral experience • Paul Oskar Kristeller • practical experience • religious experience • Remy Saisselin • Ronald Hepburn • taste • usefulness • Western aesthetics


Simon Perkins
04 JULY 2009

Application Economics (will interactive agencies please make themselves useful)

"many advertisers aren't focused on building the digital applications that people want to use; they're focused on somehow cramming marketing into them. Some kid comes up with the next YouTube, Facebook or mobile platform, and most advertisers want to figure out how to market on it. Instead of designing and developing useful applications that could give brands the opportunity to insert themselves meaningfully into our lives, we get cutesy but useless 'Sprite Sips' on Facebook, ubiquitous banners in all shapes and sizes and microsites that you won't likely return to. And I'm talking about digital advertising –– never mind traditional.

As agencies and our clients strive to add value to the lives of the average consumer, user and active participant, it's helpful to think about how we can do this in a framework I like to call the 'Three U's of Advertising in the Application Economy.' They are:

1) Usefulness. Any experience is useful when it's meaningful and serves a purpose. Currently, much of marketing still breaks down into self–serving gimmicks and interruptions that offer little value. Much of what's offered in digital is no exception. While the majority of criticism is of traditional advertising, the fact of the matter is that interruptive traditional digital advertising is not much better. These are the digital gimmicks that work to get your attention but are usually done so poorly that they offer no value whatsoever. Usefulness is the exact opposite.

2) Utility. Utility is interaction that delights us in some way. But hold the iPhone. The industry has hijacked the word delight and brainwashed us to think that only companies like Apple and Disney are capable of serving it up. Let me tell you a recent story about the 'no–frills' Craigslist. My wife took pictures of a large play set we wanted to sell. She uploaded them at 10 a.m., by noon she had several people interested, and she sold the set in time for a late lunch. We had the set dismantled, picked up and were [US] $100 richer that evening. That's delight in the application economy.

3) Ubiquity. We are living in a fragmented world with what seems like infinite touch points available to us. Brands and businesses that can distribute value across these endless touch points in effective ways will tap into new markets and solidify existing ones. Because some of us are interacting through multiple social channels, we can now find people just like ourselves who we trust and see what they like and dislike. This influences our decisions, from the stuff we buy to the things we recommend to each other. The best marketing in the world tries to simulate this, but usually ends up coming off as contrived. Meaningful interactions through multiple networks and channels lead to authentic word–of–mouth references and, ultimately, affinity.

One of the reasons I took my role with digital shop Critical Mass was its strong foundation in transactional digital design. When you think about the application economy, I have a hunch it will be fueled by organizations and individuals who have figured out how to retool Web design into something more engaging, rewarding, useful and valuable. Call it 'brand utility' or call it a good experience. Whatever you want to call it, it's not a one–trick dog and pony show."
(David Armano, 5 May 2008)



adadsadvertising • application economics • branded applicationCraigsListdigital designICTinteractioninteraction designinteractiveonline advertisingpizzapromotiontransaction • transactional digital design • ubiquityusabilityusefulness • utility • web application


Simon Perkins

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