The practice of graphic design is rapidly changing through immediate developments in technology. Thus the conventional equation between the designer and content as well as the position of author in respect to both of them. Having said that,the substantial key point is in the meaning of the design work being interpreted. Today the web has faced designers with a new paradigm in which the prior reader has become the user —the person who experiences the web content; produces content as well as consumes it. Therefore the user experiences and intentionality has transcended more than ever meaning the graphic designer has to become the future innovator in order to affect the message.
The web initially is an immeasurable information space, meaning the web is about the content. While the interactivity feature of the web, has obscured the relation between the author and the content, it has reinforced the engagement of the user and the content on the web; the user is constantly in a direct dialog with the content in forms of writing and reading. Therefore in the context of the web, any attempts from the designer in order to embrace the message has to be triggered within the content and how the user experiences the content through the interface.
The term content might be too ambiguous to define yet finally it is a generic binary term which reveals itself as a form. This could possibly be physical - a box, a jar or a bottle, or a conventional form of media —a video, a show, an essay, tweet, a play or a novel. The most substantial point here is the complexity of web content which is posted in an behavioral environment . The content meaning is being augmented not only by the surrounding content but also by the metadatas integrated in it. Therefore the interpretation which is subordinate to user interaction is way more layered and complex and as well as the design process of it.
The complexity of web content and its design process has created an urgent towards a new alternatives in design. The new paradigm leaves to option rather than moving beyond all conventional equation about design and authorship. Whether designer as a faceless facilitator giving form to content created by an author or one who branches out to the foreign affairs of external politics and content, designer has to be innovative and conscious about the new possibilities.
In order to understand the equation between designer and content, let’s look at the variables. Considering the conventional notion, graphic design is a process of creating the communication which a message or idea is being communicated within. Therefore the designer is the one who aims to reach at the highest position within this hierarchy. The designer employs a series of techniques and skills in order to direct this process; determining how the message is projected.
Authorship, one way or another, has been a popular term in graphic design circles. The word authorship has a ring of importance: it suggests agency, intention, and creation, as opposed to the more passive functions of consulting, styling, and formatting. But the exact meaning of designer-author , depends on how you define the term. I would suggest to see authorship as a floating position over the history of the mentioned context, carrying connotations such as responsibility, voice and action. Therefore when the designer tries to attain such position, we shall view the him/her as an author. No matter how the designer or author embraces or directs the content, it is the designed-content which yields the message .
To layout the conventional equation happening between the designer, content and the position of author and to gain an understanding of the shift that has happened in regards to the very core of this equation; interpretation of the content. To comprehend the conception of what a content means and how it is interpreted, and also to outline the agency of design towards content production, I intend to employ a theoretical framework (as a means for my methodology) through which I study different phases of the content intentions.
This framework through which the variables of the mentioned equation get initialized and gain meaning, is structured on two important thinker/philosopher’s theories; Walter Benjamin and Roland Barthes. In 1934, Benjamin, the German critic wrote The Author as Producer a text that assailed the conventional view of authorship as a pure literary enterprise. He outlines the relation between the new forms of communication and the borders between writing and reading, authoring and editing. Three decades later, Roland Barthes proposed the death of the author in an essay with the same title c17 in 1968. This theory which triggers the birth of critical theory, is expanding an idea based on reader response and interpretation rather than intentionality.
Benjamin attacked the model of the writer as an expert in the field of literary form, equipped only to craft words into texts and not to question the physical life of the work. Benjamin expect the author and artists to revolutionise the meaning of the content flowing in content production chain. I use this idea which is still valuable today as an notion to evaluate the legitimacy and agency of design. The later theory by Barthes criticised the prestige of author as a figure by elevating the importance of inner functions of writing over the author’s intention; it is not important what it means but how it means. Barthes surpass the user intentionality which lead me to explore different aspects of it modern implication: Web 2.0.
I will continue the text by explaining my frameworks and defining the path which through this paper aims to reach the final conclusion. And in continue I expand my text by studying the features and characteristics of web and specifically web content. Which hopefully will give an answer to my thesis question; how the interactivity and behavioral characteristic of the new media (web) has affected the relation between designer and the content meaning? and in what extends designer can still be innovative?
In order to study the variables such as author, content and designer which yield to the meaning/message of a designed work, I will equip my vision with the aid of two major theories. The first theory which belongs to Roland Barthes outlines the position of the author regarding the new forms of media and doing so he asks the artists to add a voice and political act to their work. While later Walter Benjamin wrote an essay and ignored the position of the author; reasoning that no matter what the author intended to write, it is the reader who as the final destination of a text, merges multiple parts of a text and reveals the its intention.
2.1 The agency of the author
According to Benjamin and his Marxist ideologies, the ownership of technologies for manufacturing belong to workers. Means of production lie at the heart of human culture and should be considered as public property.Educational institutes, publishers and writers producing and deliver text and raise literacy are the solid foundations for any society carrying various art forms including writing. When Benjamin carefully composed an agenda for a politically engaged literary practice, he strongly suggested that the content must not be political and that it should
“revolutionize the means through which their work is produced and distributed”.
In Walter Benjamin’s essay The Author as Producer he breaks down the traditional concept of the author. This breakdown is due to the growing forms of communication –film, radio, advertising, newspapers, the illustrated press–, where work and design fields that were once deemed separate, began to merge. Benjamin said that authors are only concerned with the actual text and content whereas producers must think of the outcome and reception of their work every step of the way.
In Ellen Lupton’s essay The Designer as Producer—in which Lupton explores the notion of abandoning the designer' as an author and moving towards the concept of the designer as a producer— Lupton considers the designer as a producer rather than simply an author. She notes that production is mostly a modern concept frequently associated with the manufacturing era that grew rapidly during the early 1900s where Avant-garde artists and designers treated the manufacturing techniques not as neutral and transparent means to an end, but as devices equipped with cultural meaning and aesthetic character.
Benjamin rejects the idea of an author, as an expert who creates a text by weaving words together without having any regards for the impacts and implications this text may have on readers and the society. He expects the author, as a producer, to be inquisitive about the reader and the other contents which may be positioned with it. Who produces this content? He argues that photographers and artists should not reduce their work as merely visual consumer goods that can become an apparatus of bourgeois publishing.
“What we require of the photographer is the ability to give his picture the caption that wrenches it from modish commerce and gives it a revolutionary useful value. But we shall make this demand most emphatically when we–the writers–take up photography. Here, too, therefore, technical progress is for the author as producer the foundation of political progress”.
Benjamin believes in the elimination of the usual gap between the genres, writers and poets, scholars and popularizers and authors and readers. To ensure this, the author as producer is in need of a revolutionary transfiguration and this requires challenging the concepts and norms of sources where literary masterpieces are produced. Therefore, at one point Benjamin expects the author to become a producer but not in a sense that he should be disguised as a factory worker, wearing a uniform and eventually becoming invisible. He expects artists and writers to break down professional and economic barriers in the world of arts and literature.
Furthermore Benjamin wrote “Printing, having found in the book a refuge in which to lead an autonomous existence, is pitilessly dragged out onto the street by advertisements and subjected to the brutal heteronomy of economic chaos. This is the hard schooling of its new form.” When describing the relation of authorship to technology, Benjamin predicted that artists would require more typefaces and more complex systems to advance their work when
“the precision of typographic forms has entered directly into the conception of his books. One might suppose that new systems with more variable typefaces might then be needed”
The reality behind Benjamin’s notion of authorship is in fact the superiority and predomination an author (artist, writer) should have towards his means of production. These essences may be shared with the society in a text frame assisting the audience in becoming producers. Where he demands to turn “readers or spectators into collaborators” which leads us to the original concept the web; a collaborative space to access the information.
After all, what Benjamin’s theory leads me to, is two major phases which have found their way to our current time. First the agency of the authors which he frame in form of producer remains fairly relevant towards the web. The value he puts on the content is being glorified within the web technology more than ever.
2.2 The Death of the Author
The Death of the Author by Roland Barthes is a landmark for 20-th century literature, literary theory, poststructuralism, and postmodernism. Barthes puts value on the reader's response and interpretation rather than intention of the author. This lead to the essay assailing the established fashion; “in ordinary culture […] tyrannically centered on the author, his person, his life,” and abolished the classical literary criticism that analyses a literary work within the biographical and personal context of its author ; demonstrating that an author is not simply a person but a socially and historically constituted subject.
Barthes rejects the idea of authorial intent, instead, he develops a reader-response critical theory. He was convinced that a text consists of multiple writings supplied by multiple cultures. However there is one place where this multiplicity is collected and united; The reader is “the space on which all the quotations that make up a writing are inscribed without any of them being lost; a text’s unity lies not in its origin but in its destination.” and the reader is a personality who is socially and historically detached,
"a man without history, without biography, without psychology";
a place which is no longer personal. This is the reader who is being the confluence of all the paths of which the text is constituted.
In literary terms, we may consider the word question where Barthes refers to text as multiple writings made up of questions. Applying the word question implies the idea in two different ways: one that a text cannot be produced inherently and therefore cannot be original per se or it is original every time because it is being revealed on the reader side. It can however, be a result of a series of organized questions and predetermined or pre existing ideas.
Thus an author is not in fact an author —as who creates something from nothing— but is a scriptor who organizes smaller particles of a text assembly within a structure and exists to produce but not to explain the work. On the most metaphorical level, the death of the Author is The death of God as phrased by Nietzsche . The literary world is a metaphor of the real world, which cannot and does not operate on a pre-determined plan, is not based on a definition neither does it function through a creator.
Barthes notes that the traditional critical approach to literature raises a thorny problem: how can we detect precisely what the writer intended? His answer is that we cannot. He introduces this notion in the epigraph to the essay, taken from Honoré de Balzac's story Sarrasine in which a male protagonist mistakes a castrato for a woman and falls in love with him. When, in the passage, the character dotes over his perceived womanliness, Barthes challenges his own readers to determine who is speaking, and about what. “Is it Balzac the author professing 'literary' ideas on femininity? Is it universal wisdom? Romantic psychology? … We can never know.” Writing, the destruction of every voice defies adherence to a single interpretation or perspective.
Barthes' articulation of the death of the author is a radical and extreme recognition of severing authority and authorship as a scriptor. Instead of discovering a single 'theological' meaning(the 'message' of the Author-God), readers of a text discover that writing, in reality, constitutes a multi-dimensional space, which cannot be deciphered, only disentangled. The Death of The Author is the multiplicity of meaning and therefore the ultimate collapse of meaning;
“freedom from the shackles of meaning and the author’s intention”
The message is being constructed out of multiple message in an outer space in reader's interpretation.
The multiplicity characteristic of the text which Barthes outlined is being shown in the web content; the notion of the hypertext indicates ultimate resources. Besides that the interactivity of the web is all about empowering the user and therefore his/her interpretation, therefore Death of the Author reveals in the concept of the web.
3. New container, new content
The fact that graphic design is perceived as 'problem solving' leads us to the social responsibility of a designer and therefore his/her critical view. In other words a designer at his best must be a thinker or a person who revolutionized the meaning in order to raising awareness and making knowledge and the world legible. Within this context the designer requires certain tools which apart from technology, comprise of creativity and observational, critical, quantitative and analytic thinking. On this note a designer should bear in mind not to become a slave to technology, but as Benjamin demands, should master it.
Communication within its broader context (social life) or in graphic design, is a time component and consequently undergoes change. Thus, the position of the component within the design equation constantly changes. What is of importance is the meaning of graphic design being the result of modern life; when human societies became encompassed by the industrial revolution and industry and technology became the main components within our lives.
Therefore it is possible to envision a deep parallel connection between graphic design and technological advances not only consisting of technology that serves design, but also changes that affect our daily lives. Thinking about the vast implementation of the internet in communication modes, the Internet and the Web have become very important tools in hands of designer.
3.1 Information revolution
In the 1970s, the developed world entered into a new age; information age. Since then, the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) —including Desktop Publishing and Internet— has totally changed our way of life, leisure, our means of communication and information. The new wave in technology was not simply limited to transforming the way we communicate but also had a repercussion on the production organization and on the labor market resulting in tremendous consequences on the workforce of developed countries.
Therefore this era which marks the beginning of Information Age was a shift from traditional industry brought through by industrialization and the Industrial Revolution, to an economy based on information computerization. The information computerization creates a knowledge-based society surrounded by a high-tech global economy that spans its influence on manufacturing input and the operation of the service sector in an efficient convenient manner.
3.2 Web 1.0: Information Space
The Internet has existed since the information revolution started taking place but it was with the invention of the World Wide Web in 1989 by British scientist Tim Berners-Lee and its introduction in 1991 and later the invention of the first web browser that the Internet became an easily accessible network. In that light, the Web as one the phases of the information technology has played an important r0le. The web by the aid of internet infrastructure (network of networks) enables individuals to explore their personalized needs, as well as creating new desires. These demands and desires can adopt different forms such as entertainment, online shopping, etc but more importantly other guises such as communications, information seeking and learning process.
Web introduced a new opportunity for individuals to explore and participate in information production and self publishing. Therefore, while graphic designers realised that any form of visual experience/attempts had become rich to their saturation point, the invention of WWW and the new wave of information production triggered demands for simplicity and easier access to information. At the same time this new found technology created an opportunity for scholars to showcase their thoughts i.e. net.art which developed in a context of cultural crisis in Eastern Europe in the beginning of the 1990s and after the ending of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
net.artists questioned the web structures such as the navigation window and challenged their functionality by using the web structure’s components and were able to show that what is considered natural by most Internet users, is actually highly constructed and even controlled by corporations. On the other hand systems such as geocities introduced new possibilities for self-expression and self- authorship to the public including artists by providing free web hosting services. Many artists now had the opportunity to bring their art to the digital world. For the very first time artists could use the internet as their canvas.
While many artists and designers were exploring new boundaries of visual possibilities on the web and through browsers, there were designers who had to embrace the web as a new medium for different forms of content. The challenge was that this new medium had its own specifications which designers needed to deal with. As time went by the web and the browser were considered as a problematic environment for graphic designers. The new environment had limited graphic possibilities and therefore inadequate aesthetic;
“the coarse resolution of the computer screen, the inability to fix layouts and typefaces, and the overpowering presence of the browser's interface”
all limited the designer to apply aesthetical decisions.
This problematic environment and demands for simplicity in information consumption triggered a new enthusiasm —and maybe a need— among the designers; decentralising the form and placing value on the content. From a new media point of view, a designer is not only the person who shapes the content but also edits it. While graphic designers were trying to hammer their ideas and designs through browsers, tech professionals were working on the next big thing which was later called Web 2.0 transforming the approach to design on the web.
3.3 Web 2.0: Interactivity
As the world moved into a new era of globalization, internet users were increasing in number; desiring to conduct their own content such as research, statements etc and were given the ability to produce and consume the data accessed on a growing number of websites. The response to this demand was the Web 2.0. In the earlier stage of web according to Cormode, G. and Krishnamurthy, B. (2008): “content creators were few [...] with the vast majority of users simply acting as consumers of content”. The very original vision of —in Tim Berners-Lee’s view:
“a collaborative medium, a place where we [could] all meet and read and write”.
was revealed by Web 2.o and was proved ineluctable.
Through the invention of Web 2.0 primary readers have become active users as more people in the society are participating in the information production.More and more people are considered to be active writers and viewers because of this participation. In order to understand how this new technology created the required playground for people and enabled them to collaborate on the web we need to go through the features and possibilities introduced by notion of web 2.0 as well as its content.
The main features of web 2.0 are: rich user experience, user participation, dynamic content, metadata, Web standards, and scalability. Further characteristics, such as openness, freedom and collective intelligence by way of user participation, can also be viewed as essential attributes of Web 2.0. These characteristics enable the users to not only generate the content for a platform but also edit and partly control it. The web applications using web 2.0 technology benefit from user interactivity. They employ architecture of participation encouraging users to add value to the application as they use it—use here includes:navigation, consumption and participation.
The backbone of web.2.0 is the interactivity injected to websites which transcend the user to the center of attention as well as empowering the user. The interactivity of the web structure, turn the primary reader to user. This change in names, makes a deeper change in our equation of author, designer and content and now the user. The word user indicates a person who navigates through the web and consumes/creates the web’s content actively. Therefore this interaction in any form makes a direct dialog between the user and the content in both ways; either the explicit way of writing on the web or reading the web’s content.
3.4 Augmented content:
Social networks, wiki platforms, blogging websites and other web applications have enabled individuals to dismantle the idea of singular authorship through self-publishing and peer-to-peer file sharing. Writing a blog post, tweeting a text, posting a photo on Instagram, placing a rent ad for your room on Craigslist and many other forms are the examples of how we explicitly generate the web’s content (write).
But while each user originates some contents on the web, the Dynamic and Metadata features of web’s content allows users to contribute and interact with the data which has been produced by other resources/users. You can like a photo on Instagram or leave a comment under a video on youtube or edit an article on Wikipedia[fig.6]. The Metadatas initially can be considered as belongings of a content. We can presume Metadatas are the junction of original content and the outworld where other users are enabled to interact with it. This has shifted the position of metadatas to the very core of a content by carrying part of a content semantic. Therefore contribution to the existed data in forms of metadatas such as likes, comments, etc are another explicit way of generating content.
In terms of functionality, metadatas not only enable the users to interact with the web content, they also prepare the machines by abstract semantics of the content. To put this simply: metadatas are much more legible for the computers than the raw content itself e.g. a jpg format image without any metadata. Tim Berners-Lee in 2006 drew a new perspectrum of the future of the web; where he talked about Semantic Web;
“I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers”.
Berners-Lee defines the Semantic Web as a web of data that can be processed directly and indirectly by machines. In that context, machine-readable metadatas enable automated agents to access the Web more intelligently and perform more tasks on behalf of the user; web applications use specific algorithms in order to observe and analyze user behavior and queries. These analytical approaches and such, generate a considerable part of the web content in the form of metadata legible for machines. Hence any passive user activity on the web by a user such as surfing is a form of writing to the web. In that extend the user becomes the content which is being fed to the machine and therefore the web.
In order to demonstrate how this invisible contribution to the web takes place let us take a look at Youtube’s content. The videos on youtube vary for each visitor in order to provide a better relevancy function. This relevancy is processed from either your browser cookies (as a placeholder for your browsing meditadas) or your watched history (only if you are logged in). As a result, each time you refresh the youtube page in your browser or on your phone application you see a different set of videos, not only newly added videos but also ones related to what you have recently watched.
3.5 Structuring the meaning: complex design Process
Whether the generative content is produced in explicit ways or is a result of the act of using and surfing a web-application’s success still hinges on just one thing: how users experience it. In order to evaluate and control this interactive experience we may need User experience (abbreviated as UX); the UX is how a person feels when interfacing with a system. The system could be a website, a web application or a desktop software and in modern contexts is generally denoted by some form of human-computer interaction (HCI). 
Nowadays, with so much emphasis on user-centered design, it seems there is no need to glorify the importance of UX design. However back in the days (prior to the codification of user-centered design, usability and Web accessibility) designers made design decisions based only on both their attitudes and design terminologies and clients desires. As Jacob Gube explains “The focus was on aesthetics and the brand, with little to no thought of how the people who would use the website would feel about it.”
From a different point of view the UX has become a point of value when the web 2.0 and other benchmarks in web technology changed the way we perceive the web content. These technologies have changed the nature of the web content; the interactive structure of the web on one hand and the content on other hand, seem to be inseparable. The deep integration of these two parts results in a new paradigm about the way we read, consume or as I discussed earlier the way we produce information.
The web content originally is a hypertext per se. The flexibility of hypertext as the haven of the written text neglects to consider the very meaning and intention that comes from surrendering to the discursive seductions of a masterful author. The real nature of hypertext gives indefinite possibilities through dynamic links and wide path choices of free ways of directing, controlling and surprising the reader more than ever. Therefore the reader has more freedom interpreting the content on the screen which reconfirms the idea of The Death of the Author.
The new content is not simply a single text or image or even multiform content but it is interactive and more importantly located within a behavioral environment. It is surrounded by other different types of content: moving images, hyperlinks, ads, etc. Hence the behavioral environment in which the content is posted will reflect on the original content. The user has many immediate accessibilities to resources —such as wikis, tags, comments, reviews , etc— to evaluate and presume a content . Having said this surrounding content is not the only factor affecting the interpretation but metadatas also play a pivotal role.
Let us explore the representation of content on twitter; a tweet contains a piece of text originated by a user (author) and the metadatas attached to it. The metadata of this tweet adds a layer of interpretation to the simple text. So there are two components in form of a tweet which affect its interpretation. These metadatas such as likes and comments listed below the tweet could be effected by assigning a new perspective and prejudgment interest to the tweet text. In that way metadata would affect the reader's interpretation.
Therefore the web content does not have an individual spirit inherited only by its author or designer neither by the users interaction itself. In the context of dynamic and behavioral web environment, the content interpretation is augmented by the metadata and surrounding content. Although both augmented components are initially passive; meaning that they come alive through user interaction —such as clicking or posting a comment. Therefore augmented perception is being added, extended and developed on behalf of the user (primary reader). Hence neither the author nor the designer have no exact perception of this augmented meaning and its quality.
So in our classic equation, the user intentionality which reveals itself in the form of user interaction has become more important than ever. However the interactivity of the web can be seen as the modern implementation of The Death of the Author, this new paradigm has more aspects to it by obscuring the line between the author and the content. Clearly, the web boosts up the enthusiasm about self-expression and self publishing and therefore the number of authors. Besides that, the web has dramatically declined the effort and time factors of publishing, thus it comes as no surprise that there is also an enormous shift about re-publishing the pre-authorised contents.
The less effort required to publish a content on the web the more chance of the content being garbled, readjusted and edited into different versions —e.g: viral videos and their different versions being made, hype images and internet memes and etc. The augmented meaning applied to the original content can sometimes place the user in the position of the original author; For example some metadatas (in forms of features) such as retweet enable the users to re-publish a tweet just by one click. But sometimes it can also be readjusted and added back to the cycle.
The immense number of authors on the web is corroding the borders between the author and the content, and any act of re editing only further muddies the water. As the relation of author and the content has become vague and insignificant, the relation of the user and content has become clear which elevates the user importance. Therefore locating the designer in the context of what Benjamin expects from artists —revolutionising the meaning of the text— leads the designer to embrace user intentionality. But as the content has become more layered, the factors involving content interpretation have become more complex. Considering this, using as a process consists of multiple behaviours such as: surfing and searching, reading (consuming) and writing (explicit way of production). This multiplicity notion of using turns it into a layered and complex process and therefore its design becomes a very complex task which requires collaboration of different fields of expertise.
Design process on the web is not only on hands of a graphic designer, but it is a collaborative design process. This collaboration includes back-end development, front-end development and depends on the scale of UX design or front-end design; a combination of programming, design and human-computer interaction. Having mentioned the above, the question is how does a graphic designer take place within this new paradigm? How can a designer embrace the design message while this process has become so complex.
4. Designer, the future innovators
What used to be a one-way static medium has evolved into a very rich and interactive experience. The complexity of designing, such interactivity, has left a small part for graphic design (in its conventional notion) to be effective in what the design will communicate thus the graphic designer has to become the innovator in order to affect the message.
4.1 Designer as a director
Movies are a very good example of collaborative tasks in which the director leads all different areas of production. While being a director empowers you to have control on the narrative, form, sound etc, you are able to have an overview of its entire landscape. Therefore a designer at his very best position could be seen as a director; a director who designs a system which different professions collaborate together in order to make the final design based on what the designers idea.
Being a director requires having a plan and an idea. This plan can only be comprehensive and effective if you are aware of the possibilities of the different require expertise —as a director is aware of possibilities in cinematography, scripting, acting and etc. Therefore a graphic designer needs to be aware of possibilities given by his/her tools; Programing, UX design and etc. On other hand the rapid development of technology, tools and their complexity is becoming more and more simple and less require a specific profession.
Having an eye to the future, enlightens a path in which the design process and its tools become simple to use and the graphic designer can master. In such future being a director as a designer, means being a director of tools although in that sense there is a crucial point where the same technology would be accessible for people of all interests. Such a technology can place people in direct dialogue with typography, photography and other visual elements traditionally associated with graphic design suggesting that we might also dabble as citizen designers while blogging, chatting, uploading and posting our way to a new social paradigm.
The challenge of being effective is still on. I propose that if we need to move beyond the designer-as-hero, maybe it is time to question whether it really matters
“who has designed it?”
Rather than glorifying the act and sanctifying the practice we should move beyond all the conventional relations and equations. We need to suggest the new alternatives in order to embrace the message in context of behavioral environment of the web.
4.2 Design in behavioral environment
The interactivity which has brought to the web by web 2.0 and also the Semantic terminology which outlines the very recent future of the web (or even current time) both has made the web a behavioral environment within which most of the elements are not only interactive but also containing a level of content. Placing these elements in an container. For example a web-page can transform into an environment consisting of fragmented contents which are constantly interacting with each other.
Mathew Dryhurst has a project named Saga which is a framework where you can embed an image, a video, or a piece of code as an iframe on another site and you are able to modify the embedded content individually for each endpoint. The Saga project intends for the content —specifically an artwork such as an soundtrack on Soundcloud— to correspond to its surrounding; as Dryhurst describes it
“where your work is shown becomes your space.”
Although Saga is at an early stage and is only implemented more towards legislation concerns about the artists and their artwork representation, what it introduces as a concept is magnificent. In a broader view Saga reveals a possibility in which the content as an autonomous objectivity
“challenges the dominant mode of the web”.
This is the first time when a content is planned to correspond to its environment but this approach sounds conditional. The framework is being planned in order to correspond to some circumstance therefore it can not be in a dynamic interaction with the its surrounding.
4.3 To sum up: Design as a Metadata
I would like to propose an idea: imagine a framework providing a new type of content which instead of corresponding to the environment, embraces its surrounding. This embracement can be revealed in different forms; it can affect the place where content is located in a visual way, or it can be textual. The implication of this model in reality would be an autonomous designed content which is detached from the environment it will be placed within. This independency requires the content to be armed by a built in design framework therefore making it easier for the designer to apply his/her thoughts in the design process.
In order to demonstrate the idea I would ask you to think about an article which is published on a online platform. The major aim of what I call built in design would be a readjustment to the the page where the article is being shown. One of these changes can be for example hiding the unrelated hyperlinks, images, ads, etc in the surrounding as well as emphasising on the related contents. If I as a designer of the article consider a pure and neutral design for it, I would expect the article to be shown in a pure and natural designed environment, so the built in design feature could change the color range of all the elements into a limited range of color, and reduce the diversity of typographical elements.
Finally when I am talking about a built in design, I am actually talking about a feature like metadata which is being built in a content. So why not have the designed framework as an encoded prop of the metadata for this new type of content. Although the deployment of such a feature in reality,considering the current possibilities, might not be granted but we can not bring innovative ideas to halt.