Sunday Book-Thought 114

Here we experience manipulation: when making you behave in the right manner or advising you to do the right thing, both the self-checkout and the car navigation assistant are forms of disciplinary manipulation, in contrast to those open forms of manipulation we find with infantilization, which do not directly tell you what to do. This seems to be of a different kind, with its interface not disciplining us but simply suggesting a situation. Cheerful design signals a simple and unproblematic context. By addressing us as very young children, the playful interfaces of flat design suggest that there is no need to understand anything. Just try it: go press this button, speak to it, create! The simple but colorful appearance signals that the users can be free from second thoughts about the complexity of the technological apparatuses as well as about the complexity of the world we live in.
Mercedes Bunz, ‘The Force of Communication’, in Communication (Minneapolis and Lüneburg: University of Minnesota Press and meson press, 2019), pp. 51-91 (pp. 71-72).

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