Texture

What is the connectivity of the system? How do the pieces interact with one another, both human and nonhuman? The texture of the network is what we think about when we look at how easy it is to interface with its different parts. If the connections are obvious and accessible, we might describe the interface as smooth; if the connection points are difficult or confusing, that could be described as rough.

The notion of texture can be applied to graphical interfaces, gestural or spatial interfaces, hardware controls, and APIs alike, among other things. How might one describe the qualities of their bank’s system? This could include their ATMs, customer service, transfer between institutions, and more. Often a designer (or critic) will only be concerned with a subset of a network system, but it’s always good to pay attention to how that piece interacts with the whole and how the system responds to those inputs.

Agency

What is the component’s capacity to act on the other parts of the network or the system as a whole? Can a person interfacing with the product influence the rules of the system? Or, are his potential actions constrained by other aspects of the system? How much freedom does each network component have within the system?

The agency of each actor within the system depends on its role. From a human perspective, agency can describe how much power a user can exert on other parts of the network, versus being limited to specific actions in specific contexts. Different actors will have different amounts of agency at different times.

 
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