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Category: H697

Creating History in New Media, Spring 2012

H697 Less Myst, More Clarity

The readings this week were to explore the website The Lost Museum and read an essay which explains some of the ideas and motivations behind the project.

I read the essay first, because I initially visited both via iPad and didn’t want to deal with audio/video in a public place (I’m unable to wear headphones comfortably at the moment). Even if I hadn’t started with the essay, I would have seen the influence of the game Myst on the exhibit. I can understand way the designers might have been drawn to it as a model: it was an immersive experience, award-winning, stunning graphics for the time. However, I think it was a poor choice of model for a historical game, at least one you’re expecting people to come to without any preparation.

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H697 Listening with Your Eyes and Ears

Part of our reading this week was to watch two TED talks, each only about 15 minutes long. One was Larry Lessig about laws that restrict us from being a read/write culture to a read only one, and the other was Hans Rosling talking about erroneous assumptions about the third world and the need to get data out where people can see it. These ideas, of the need for freedom to remix and of getting publicly-funded data out where the public can use it, are really important. But they’re not what I’m going to talk about (today).

I spent the presentations paying attention to the content of the visual half. This isn’t to say that I wasn’t listening (because I definitely was), but the two were very different and yet both made good visual impact. And, for the record, I’m one of those people who does much better if I have something to look at in addition to listen to (which is why I don’t do well at symphony concerts).

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H697 Accessibility

I was not initially clear about reading Tufte in the same week as accessibility, but now it begins to make sense. Visual representations won’t be of much use to blind site users, but using graphics to communicate information could be really helpful for people who have trouble parsing text.

I was very struck by what Joe Clark bringing up people with learning disabilities. When I’d thought about accessibility, I’d pretty much only thought about screen readers, and the need for captions/transcripts of anything with audio (I have a few friends with hearing aids and it’s made me very aware how few YouTube videos with the CC button actually have CC). But I know so many people with learning disabilities and Processing Disorders. I think that remembering these populations could really challenge us to go beyond simple text-on-screen websites.

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