Computer programming is a human activity where subjective matters have been typically looked at as sources of error and trouble. Most computer programmers have tended to deal with computer meanings in terms of correctness and completeness, paying little attention to the role of their own interpretations of context and values while generating program code. Following the orientation of all semiotic approaches to human-computer interaction (HCI), Semiotic Engineering has brought HCI designers onto the stage where users interact with systems interfaces and proposed that the latter are in fact the designers' proxy in a computer-mediated communication that involves designers and users alike. In other words, there are more people to account for in HCI than just users.
Recently, we have been using Semiotic Engineering's conceptual tools to track the presence of human interpretation and intent in deeper layers of software. Interesting findings come from programs produced by users engaged in end user programming (EUP) activities. So, in this talk, I will introduce the main ideas of Semiotic Engineering and show how, especially when applied to EUP, they can lead to intriguing questions about the first-person in computer discourse and what he/she/it/they may mean to tell us in software codes.
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