How does the structure of information shape action?
We will use world-wide-web and the Internet as a case study for closely looking at and analyzing how the structure and layout of information on a web page affects the way we navigate the web. We will adapt a technique called ‘the dérive’ to experience, analyze and map a small portion of the web. This technique privileges subtle, actual, lived experience above abstract analysis. The unit will go on to explore how we can propose to re-design an experience (online or offline, digital or analog) and shape actions based on insight from our dérives and mappings.
1. As we go about our web-surfing we will become hyper aware of the design and context (how did we get to this page, what links did we follow, what social media service were we using?) of each page we visit.
2. Begin to pay close attention to the way you typically interact and navigate around a page.
3. We will begin to collect the bits and pieces we are noticing from each of these pages – images, snippets of text, urls, taking notes, drawings, sketches, screenshots, etc…
1. Now try to ‘drift’ through the web: try to navigate without using the back-button, without any search functions, using your keyboard as little as possible (see the Trailblazers Web Surfing Competition below).
2. Pay close attention to the way your interaction differs during your web-derive.
3. Collect and map the elements you are noticing during your web-derive
Maps for 1.1 and 1.2
Using the collected snippets form 1.1 and 1.2, you will create a simple map of your experience. What is the simplest, most obvious way to display and share the information you have collected with your colleagues? What story does the collected information tell? Does your map reveal anything about your surfing habits, the sites you visit, the web in general? Did you take an unexpected detour on the web? Discover entire new sections, or categories of videos you have no idea existed? This assignment is about consciously navigating and tracking that navigation across the web.
You will present both maps in class in 1 week. Remember, maps can be diagrams, sketches, videos, poems, timelines, tumblrs, posters, or any other form you can imagine.
Weeks 2 – 4
2. You will either refine your maps or choose another experience on which to apply the dérive and mapping. You could choose a book, a poster, a space, an event.
3. You will propose a way – through graphic design – to modify the lived experience you have chosen.
4. You will finalize your proposal or implement your design.
- Guy-Ernest Debord, Theory of the Dérive
- A Summary on Wikipedia
- This American Life, Episode 110: Mapping, Sept. 4, 1998
- learn to use the dérive to pay close attention to lived experience
- learn to analyze and collect existing visual languages
- learn to edit, sequence, arrange and map existing content as a means of telling a new story
- learn to design based off insight from the dérive and mapping
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