The Bloomberg Terminal and Self-PsychologyAn article at UX Magazine that appeared a few days ago deals with the – unmastered – challenge of redesigning the Bloomberg Terminal. One central argument that is brought forward regarding the reason why the interface will not be redesigned any time soon, is that “users take pride and find highly rewarding to handle a painful interface“, with the reward consisting in „feeling and looking like a hard-core professional”.
Norman’s thoughts regarding the “reflective level” of design come to mind [PDF]. But of course, he is not the first to describe how objects and activities that are relevant to us affect our (psychological) selves. Take, e.g., this description of “selfobjects”, a concept brought forward by Heinz Kohut:
„Selfobjects are external objects that function as part of the "self machinery." In other words, they are persons, objects or activities that "complete" the self, and which are necessary for normal functioning. Observing the patient's selfobject connections is a fundamental part of self-psychology. For instance, a person's particular habits, choice of education and work, taste in life partners, may fill a selfobject-function for that particular individual.”