GRDS 701: Unit 3 Blog Post 2: What has the the web (for designers and endusers) done to graphic design storytelling?
The ways in which people use the web affect design today as much as the content that is presented by designers and non-designers alike. The explosion of social media networks has changed our dialogue even beyond the years of emailing to a much more personal, yet impersonal means of communication. Anyone who has spent several years with the internet as a daily resource for news, weather, shopping, communicating with friends and family etc… knows that there is as much untrustworthy material online as there is work that is credible. The phenomenon is alike and different from how we interacted with design before, as there is deception in paper form as well. For designers that work within the digital realm, there is a broad range of ethical concerns that must be understood and adhered to for users to respect the medium (and the profession) without compromising trust. A way that I have seen trust established by designers to endusers is making the web a place that is usable and accessible. To best cater, designers are learning ways to explain the web through dialogue and stories (not anecdotes or metaphors, but real stories that connect people to what they’re using).
As more and more people have taken to the internet as a means of authorship, there has been an accompanying concern about the dilution of the difference between a professional and an amateur, and design has been one of the professions hardest hit. Response to this has boiled down to frustrations like Andrew Keen’s Cult of the Amateur and Jaron Lanier’s You Are Not A Gadget. They believe that aspects of the web as community are disrupting the meaning of design (as well as technology, academia, etc…) by too many meaningless instances of storytelling via blogs, websites, and social networks. Keen’s perspective is more biased against the nature of the web in competition with professional discourse. My perception of both texts is the general disappointment that such a powerful influence platform is not solely dedicated, or at least producing large amounts of creativity/new knowledge. The concept of storytelling has become many generic recordings by individuals, but there is an equally immense call-to-action for designers to become more valuable participants in the digital realm.
Within this I think of what differences exist in storytelling and dialogue between the page and the screen. The interactivity of a screen is much different than the static page and must account for many further human aspects of the design. From this must consistently come quantifiable research to understand the purpose and interactivity of a design with the enduser. If the design cannot connect with someone, then it fails to communicate meaningfully, much less create a narrative inquiry with him or her.
It is overwhelming to think of the potential of the web for a designer. Now, more than ever in any other medium, we have to tell stories into user experience and develop a working relationship with endusers. Storytelling, something that is nearly as ancient as humankind, is pivotal in developing effective relationships forward.