Ruth Nichols has written a M.Sc. thesis on skins, “A study into the Useful Application of Skins for Information Filtering” (Computer and Software, McMaster University, 2003). She has brought out an interesting area of user interface design and theory that is connected with the work done on Mods in the gaming community – namely Skins.

She writes that “The original idea of skins was developed by Winamp, an MP3 player build by a small company Nullsoft. Winamp was first released in 1997.” (p. 20) Winamp was officialy released in 1998 and was bought by AOL in 1999. Skinning was added in 1998.
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Affordances and Prospects

Stan Ruecker today successfully defended a thesis on theorizing rich propospect affordances for interpretively-tagged text collections. Two things that are very interesting about the thesis are:

1. He traces the literature on affordances (that show up without a lot of background in UI discussions like Norman) to JJ Gibson and environmental psychology.

2. He proposes prospects (visualizations that have a meaningful representation of all items in a collection) as useful way to interface with medium sized text collections like Orlando.
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