Interface and interaction

In all three emails nobody writes about the computer as a hurdle to overcome. Apparently computer savvy-ness was not an issue anymore. In the GHP Folders I found a great deal of correspondence about how to act online, what commands to use, which address to use. This was no longer an issue at all in the 0+Network. People commented on the communication and the information they could use, but not on the way the machines behaved.

The remark by the AMC that they had not received anything for two hours illustrates that the issue had become a question of 'to be or not to be connected'. How one was connected, how the network was built, how the information and communication travelled to other places was no issue at all. It just worked and one did not have to have any skills or knowledge apart from reading and writing to be able to use the network. When I saw and used the 0+Network, it was the first time I had seen technology drop away. The interface was so simple and attractive that the communication and the information could shine through. Access is usually formulated in terms of technology and people have to know how to operate the technology. Rolf Pixley, the designer and developer of the 0+Network, formulated access at the level of the interface design. This is why he created a Hypercard front end for the UNIX technology, which the network was operating on, so he could give the interface the aesthetic quality that would make the technology disappear from the user experience.note 195 Pixley involved artists like Max Kisman, Jan Dietvorst, Peter Mertens, David Garcia and later Michael Tidmus, to contribute works of art.

In all three emails personal communication and good information are valued and mentioned in connection with one another. The information was really useful, but the fact that one could also communicate personally with a lover in New York, or that people elsewhere could be present via the same network, made the online-environment very 'real' in the sense that the information and communication touched a person in her or his situation. The first of them, Hans, who was ill at home, clearly felt involved waiting for a response from his lover in New York, receiving greetings from everyone and enjoying the great amount of information. The fact that the nurses on the night-shift wanted to pass on messages and enjoy the information themselves, is a sign of the value people attributed to the information and communication they found via the 0+Network.