design production … might lead H u m a n i t i e s

design production … might lead H u m a n i t i e s

[Quick Note: The Kristin Arola article, “The Design of Web 2.0: The Rise of the Template, The Fall of Design,” is an older article. BUT it still makes some great points about what we and designers have control over in a digital space, including the design of interfaces. I ask that you keep THE LARGER argument in mind (the lack of design control with templates in not only Facebook or Instagram, but also Weebly or WordPress) rather than fixate on the smaller, older points (MySpace).]

Choose two of the following questions to answer:

1. “Social Innovation Through Participatory Design” talks about users as co-creators of content. When you think of content, what comes to mind? Is it designed in the way we’ve discussed “design” this semester? How so? Is there a difference between content and design? Give examples.

2. Arola (“The Design of Web 2.0…”) argues that social media users (which she calls Web 2.0 users) are discouraged from creating design because templates provide the design and users fill with their content. Do you think templates take away the act of design, and even further, creativity from users? From designing their own identity? Think about this even beyond web templates and think to resume templates, Power Point templates.

3. Arola states, “I worry that the loss of design production…might lead to less critical consciousness not only about the meaning design conveys, but also the ways in which that meaning is enmeshed in the world around us” (pp. 7-8). If design is just a container for information, does that make it less meaningful? If we look past design, does it are we losing something?

4. “Social Innovation Through Participatory Design” writes, “the designer develops a platform that empowers users, rather than clients to express themselves” (p. 191). This is almost exactly opposite to what Arola argues. How might not having to design help a user be more creative? And how might this help citizen designers in participatory design?

After following instructions and picking two questions to answer of the four, you must reply to these two students with at least 200 words and give a thoughtful response that can encourage and forward a conversation, start off with Hello, (their name)

Shane’s Post:

2. Yes I think that templates take away the act of design and creativity from users because if you already have a default template made for every user of a specific site then people will have no say in how they want their own page(s) to look. For example when Twitter was first created back in 2006 they only had the one option for the background of the app, which was plain white. Then in 2016 they added night mode which made the background a dark bluish or black color and for me that is a much easier format to look at because I felt that the plain white background was to bright and night mode feels better on my eyes. When thinking about Powerpoint templates I like how they give you many options to choose from and I haven’t ever had a problem with deciding on a template to use because I feel like there are so many but I can see how some people might want more freedom to create their own specific format for their Power Points.

3. I do think if design is just a container for information that it does make it less meaningful because in my view design should be connected to an individual persons creativity and if you take that away by not letting people be creative in their own way then what’s the point of design? It is easy to just input information into an already created design template but that’s not fun for anyone. What people really want to do is make their own designs and then add the information that they have so that they can feel like everything they have done is created by themselves rather than half of it being done by someone else. I think we are losing something if we look past design. Design has such a wide range of meanings that looking past it would just be a waste because there is so much to work with within design and people need to be able to apply their own touch to any type of design they want in order to keep creativity alive.

Emily’s post:

1) When I think of the word content, I think of any form of creation, specifically within the media. I usually associate the concept of content with a personalized creation whether it be a commercial, stand up comedy act, a musicians song, or social media post. Design has an instant impact on a the viewers opinion, while content has more of a slow, cumulative effect. I believe design is used to catch the eye immediately and generate a form of interest and draw the audience in. Comparing design to content, I believe content is used to not only draw the audience in but maintain their interest. Content shows the viewer the authenticity behind what they are trying to “sell”.

2) I don’t necessarily agree that social media users are discouraged from creating content. I believe it stimulates and motivates a creator to design. Though I do agree with the point that it may steer away from originality, but does not discourage design as a whole. I could see the perspective of templates taking away the act of design. For example, UDance creates bingo cards for donations. I can usually tell that those bingo cards are generated on Canva. The font is distinct. In this sense I do see the lack of originality and creation from one’s own mind. I believe it could go either way, but agree as a whole templates defeat the purpose of being creative on your own.

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