Our news and information sites have succeeded so well, they are failing. We’ve designed them to be quickly scannable—at a glance, I take in the headline, the key visual, and the lead paragraph. But today’s news is anything but simple. The truth cannot be reduced to visual sound bytes. That’s how we got in this mess in the first place.
You probably heard that the Internet was created to withstand a nuclear attack, right? A network that would be resilient to withstanding a nuclear attack, and that’s actually not quite true. What is true is that Paul Baran, who was at the Rand Corporation, was looking into what is the most resilient shape of a network. And amongst his findings, one of the things he discovered was that by splitting up your information into discrete packages, it made for a more resilient network, and this is where this idea of packet switching comes from that you take the entire message, chop it up into little packets, and then you ship those packets around the network by whatever route happens to be best and then reassemble them at the other end.
Am going through Jenifer Tidwell’s insightful blog posts from 2011:
It’s interesting that nowhere in this list does “layout” appear. Nor “color” or “typography” or “form design” or any other low-level design concept. They’re still important parts of our craft, of course, and laypeople ought to know about them. But in the end, their only real value is in how well they serve bigger needs: content, connection, self-determination, convenience, beauty.
Hidden inside the network protocol that powers the Internet is a system designed to fight a nuclear war, even if Washington were destroyed by a surprise Soviet attack. Today, it mostly powers cat videos.
One must assume that failure is the way we learn in general. My favorite notion is that certainty is the closing of the mind. The possibility to fail is one of the means by which we have to develop ideas, and to explore possibilities. Once you’re certain of what you’re doing the possibility of change and exploration begins to diminish. So, the idea of being an amateur constantly is an old idea for artists, particularly those who want to continue learning things they don’t already know.