Pete Gomes on 13 Jan 2001 13:57:27 -0000

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Re: <nettime> Disassociate Webdesign from Usability

>From the earlier forwarded posting from Geert:

> what occured to me on perusal of this text is the famous bauhaus dictum,
> "form follows function"

Form follows function is a drummed into designer as a creed, a kind of
design guide failsafe
- but for me it was always open to interpretation and expansion. Ideas of
what the term
'function' can constitute can be very diverse.

A table is one example [the 'old' kind that support things - not
<table></table> ;-)]

A function of a table could be said to support objects such as food - if it
is a 'dining' table.
An equal function of a table, in this example, is that its designed to
support, nurture
and help express the complex ritual of eating. These are the conceptual
qualties that
are integral and must be considered to make a designed object work.

This expands the notion of a 'functional' object to incorporate the effect
of the designed
object (including web sites) on the being, psychology, and physical effect
on the user,
and their behaviour and actions - which are shaped, enabled or affected by
the designed object.

When you look at a web site in the same way it changes the nature of what
its 'functionality'
is and where the real interface actually lies? Is it just on the screen? Is
it only confined to
navigation, clarity and ergonomics? Or is it equally the effect a site has
on the people
using it - like

re: flash vs ascii

Around 1995,  there were fewer people who had actually trained in design,
making web sites and applying their methodologies to the web in the form of
solving - they had all come from other disciplines. (I was a 3D designer
who became a
film maker then started making web sites.)

Before dtp, people didn't used to need to be 'designers' and never had the
need or
opportunity to do so.  Now people look to see what web sites "should look
what a flash movie "looks like" and that in turn unfortunately becomes a
standard or a conceptual template to aspire to. This also perpetuates the
vogue-ish looks web of site styles, as clients of web design companies and
web design companies themselves look to other sites as their starting point.

In turn people have begun to expect certain componants that constitute a
"proper" web site, a "professional" web site. These perameters of
web sites keeping moving - an animated gif, a nav bar with a frame, javascript
rollover buttons, flash site, database etc.

The drive towards the emulation of the "professional" site status
eliminates the
possibility for people to experiment - for fear their site is deemed to
look like
an "amateur" site. People who have not yet started making web sites may now
believe a simple HTML page too "amateur" compared to the 'sophistication' of
other web sites.  I now often hear people being dismissive of
their knowledge of writing html.

Flash movies and also film language on the internet now - are often used
by people who have never used the language of film in any shape
or form - with no awareness of rhythm, montage etc.

This is sometimes good as people do new things and have a new approach,
but mostly very boring as people think they "invent" techniques or filmic
structures -
but they have no idea of what has gone before them - and no sense of the
complexity of combining moving image and sound. And generally, concept
has nothing to do with it at all.


a DVD visual and surround sound
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Visual Pete Gomes
Music Marvin Ayres

stills | mp3 | movie | summary

Electro-acoustic compositions for Cello
mille plateaux | ritornell

Marvin Ayres

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