Whilst reading our Garrett sections for Monday, I was troubled by his distinction between “interface” and “navigation” as affordances that “allow users to do things” and that “allow users to go places,” respectively. For “going” is a kind of action, or “doing—” the ideas have a parent-child relationship, not a peer relationship.
Maybe this is because I think of everything in the world ontologically (in the CS sense) that I have a problem with differentiating these terms. Even grammatically, they’re both transitive verbs. And I get that it’s useful to separate navigational functionality from its parent, interface, because navigation enables users to move through and between different parts of the site. But (and perhaps this is because I am not a UX designer, but a theory-minded lady) I worry that if we conceive as interface and navigation as inherently separate affordances, we’ll end up with two interface designs, or do away with a logical interface all together. Case in point: two of my favorite sites, http://www.thesartorialist.com and http://www.manrepeller.com, are rhizomatically navigable but have no other interface logic to speak of; one must either browse or click through photos at random. These sites’ problems could be solved by judicious use of metadata describing color, style (Man Repeller marks up some of its content by kind of content); my own site redesign will avoid this issue by using as its interface principle the thousands-of-years-old system that underlies astrology on the web. I guess this is why the design team has to be invested in a carefully yoked business-need-with-project goal. And I wonder what will happen structurally with these, my favorite street-style blogs, as they attract more investors.