About Face 3.0: What happened to the parasitic/auxiliary posture?

23 Aug 2007 - 5:51pm
9 years ago
1 reply
1721 reads


Dave's article references Cooper/Reimann's 'postures' from About Face
2.0, as 'sovereign, transient, daemonic, and parasitic...' and, since
this is very pertinent to something I'm working on, right now, I went to
About Face 3.0 to take a look at this...

I quote p. 163:

"Desktop applications fit into four categories of posture: sovereign,
transient, and daemonic."

(um...how many, gentlemen...?)

I've been looking through Chapter 9 where the topic of posture is
discussed, and I didn't find "parasitic," anywhere.

I then turned to my copy of About Face 2.0, and I quote from p. 103:

"Desktop applications fit into four categories of posture: sovereign,
transient, daemonic and auxiliary."

No parasitic. Auxiliary, instead.

A definition of the auxiliary posture is found on p. 113:

"Programs that blend the characteristics of sovereign and transient
programs exhibit auxiliary posture. The auxiliary program is
continuously present like a sovereign, but it performs only a supporting

What am I missing? What made this fourth type of posture go away
between editions of the book?

I'm interested in this because I'm proposing different interactions
strategies within a single application, based on each content node's
posture relative to user tasks...and I'm feeling a little under fire in
my organization with what I'm proposing and will need to back up my
thoughts with books ...so that's why I noticed...sorry to be so picky...

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
David Malouf
Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2007 10:46 AM
To: IXDA list
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] As promised B&A article on "Foundations
ofInteraction Design"

Well it is finally published. I think 2 years ago I suggested this
idea to the B&A web site and they got back to me like 6 months later
and then it took me forever to actually write it. Well, here it is:


David Malouf
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24 Aug 2007 - 10:58am
Robert Reimann


In AF2, we changed the name of the mysterious 4th posture from
"parasitic" to "auxiliary" because I thought it was more descriptive
of the supplemental and supportive role that such applications
generally serve, and avoided the negative connotations of the
"parasitic" metaphor.

However, one can easily question the need to express this as a
separate posture. Even the examples given in AF2 are dodgy at best....
is an IM client *really* an auxilliary app, or is it a transient app
that happens to stay on the screen when not being used? The fact that
an auxilliary app can be "hosted" by another application doesn't
really change much about the transient posture of the mini-app, except
for the fact that it lives embedded in another app. So, in an effort
to keep things simple, we decided to remove the auxiliary posture in
AF3. We probably could (and
should) have mentioned that transient apps can also live as mini-apps embedded
in sovereign apps, and left it at that.

And, well, the the "four" vs. "three"? I honestly can't imagine who,
ahem, could have let that one slip by... :)


Robert Reimann
President, IxDA

Manager, User Experience
Bose Corporation
Framingham, MA

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