January 24, 2002

Charles Munat on Design
Charles Munat creates a compelling vision of web design. Charles argues that designers are stuck in control mode. All forms of creativity before the digital age were in a fixed space. The designer always had the illusion of controlling the design. But as Charles points out, that was never the case. Every creation has never truly replicated the designers intended presentation. Films in crappy theatres (one of my favorites), paintings with unintended lighting and muted TV commercials. What makes the internet different is it is truly interactive. It has the potential to illuminate the control put on viewers. It puts the audience and the creator in a conversation where the experience for the audience (or users) is truly democratic. Or so Charles would argue.

Or is this a pipe dream. I think the web makes this more possible. But not entirely possible. The designer is always in a sense going to control the user's experience. Every designer has a vision. And, I think, by definition that means they want to control how the audience views his/her work. Now, a lot can be said about increasing interactivity. After all, it benefits "the establishment" to design for the needs of the user.

David Weinberger brings Charles' argument down to earth in Darwin. David argues that pure collaboration is undesirable and that there is a price to severing content and presentation. I'm just curious what David thinks that price is.

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