Pornography's Graphical Interface
Online pornography is a $97 billion industry with more than 100 million people around the globe visiting pornographic video streaming sites every day. Within that industry, sophisticated technology companies employ hundreds of technical staff to design and develop interfaces, algorithms, data-mining and analytics software, video-streaming software, and database management systems. These designers are responsible for making strategic choices about information management and the graphical organization of content, which translates into large profits and the curation, distribution, and regulation of our sexual desire.
Information scholar Patrick Keilty studies the impact that design and information systems in the pornography industry have on desire and sexuality. His talk focused on one aspect of this strategy—the design of immersive viewing experiences that are aimed at increasing the retention of attention and “time on site”—while addressing questions such as: How does the pornography industry design for desire? How does this differ from similar practices in other industries? What can our understanding of desire add to our understanding of how these systems operate?
Patrick Keilty is Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto, with affiliate faculty positions in the Technoscience Research Unity, Cinema Studies Institute, Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, and the Women and Gender Studies Institute. Keilty is the co-editor of the Feminist and Queer Information Studies Reader.