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The Digital Revolution + Blindness

September 4, 2009

At dinner yesterday, I was talking with my friend Kate, an Associate Editor at a magazine here in New York. She mentioned being the youngest person on a journalism panel in a high school — you know the sort where they give advice to young aspiring things. All the other people kept stressing, “Keep up with the technology, exploit digital.” She was the only one that said, “Develop content. Look for stories to tell.” This is an astounding story — the older journalists, so quaking with fear at the digital revolution, had completely become blind by how ridiculous their advice was. Only Kate was unafraid and had the good sense to stress content. Point One: Be wary of other people’s spots of terror. I’m not sure it’s so bad in the design world as it is in media, but really — even smart talented professors can have blind spots.

Then there was another blindness. Typography 1 today and another twenty minutes of dealing with technology with everyone, professor, students, resident tech guru worriedly crossing our fingers that it would all work so that we could get on with it. This happens every class! I don’t know — I promised to be open to technology during my time in grad school — but why must technology function like this? Why must everyone quake at every redesign of CS? It is some sort of race that doesn’t make any sense at some point. Shouldn’t me and my fellow designers be urged to build a better a system in the future, one that doesn’t leave its users quaking in fear?

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