I have more respect for designers after reading the introduction. I limited what designers are truly capable prior to this reading. But it makes sense! How else did I think web pages were so interactive and engaging? Web designers, graphic designers are the masterminds behind it all. They lay out the future of digital media. The graphic and web designers integrate the skill set they already posses with the internet to produce a form of visual communication. I couldn't agree any more when the book stated that web designers view the web as an experience. The moment a person types in a URL of their desire and presses “search” or “go”, that person will judge the page based on their user experience. The designers are responsible because they drive the user’s experience. Yes, the web is used for business but pleasure as well. It channels many forms of information for your everyday user. In this day and age digital technology is highly significant in our culture. It’s to the point that computers are instrumental in media.
In chapter 1, Bolter and Gromala express how digital application is defined by the user’s experience. Platforms of media are no longer just offering information but also providing experiences to the users. They want the consumers to feel a part of the experience which makes it more enriching. “Every digital artifact needs at times to be visible to its user; it needs to be both a window and a mirror” (Bolter, Gromala 12). In 2000 an installation, “Text Rain”, provided exactly that to users. The museum visitors are a part of the show, when their figures are on video camera. In the text rain, the user channels the information. This is to show that without the user the piece is incomplete, similar to the web. The digital culture would be irrelevant without the participants. Designers are not only designing the page and the structure but also designing an experience for the application we use. “Digital interfaces are mirrors” (Bolter, Gromala 27), they reflect our interest and thoughts.
Just like “Text Rain”, I thought the “Wooden Mirror” was pretty cool! The blend of wooden material and digital technology was done well because it engaged viewers. It invited participants to be a part of the design. This digital design reminds us that a mirror simply reflects our world unlike a window which is a look into a different world. The term “window” holds much more value because designers chose that term to describe the rectangles on our screen. A decision that was made twenty years ago still plays a significant role in our digital culture. It made me really think about the meaning of a “window”. As users we don’t look through it but we look inside it. The “window” holds information and data. This interface definitely shaped our relationships with computers.
Another piece that resembles a mirror, the “Nosce Te Ipsum”, this piece too invites the viewer. Nosce Te Ipsum requires the viewer to walk towards the screen in which it changes and the closer the viewer gets the closer to the discovery. “In order to reveal the final image, you must participate in the dissective process…” (Bolter, Gromala 61). All in all it requires the participant to interact with Nosce. I found this piece very interesting because it’s not a transparent window instead it reflects as we use it, “…it makes us stop and think about our relationship to the computer” (Bolter, Gromala 62). Below is a video that brings this experience to life on your screen or should I say "Window"…
Cool isn't it? I thought so! Our digital culture is not only transparent to which we look through the interface but also reflective to which we look at the interface.