diversification of minds - conversation in processes
design for communities

Tokyo, 07.10 - 09.10 1999

10 09 am<Informationscapes>
Akihiko Seki, Digital Islands, Malaysia

Digital information, some thoughts for consideration
I would like two further investigate two significant differences between digital information and analogue information:
- Digital information is directly embedded in the media itself by its programmed nature- both, the medium and the message are based on the same binary code.
- Digital information, by its ability to seamlessly transgress into different media, regardless of limitations in time and space, lends itself easily to the creation of interlinked communities. A specific piece of information for example can be easily extended by linking it to other pieces or by adding visual and acoustic expressions.
However, it is certainly not enough to just consider the technical aspects of digital information when confronted with the task to design such information. Content, function and even more important, social and cultural factors need to be considered in their mutual relations.

I participated in the development of a Web-browser, targeted specifically for children in Asia. During this process, we had to deal with the issue of protecting children from content such as pornography. Incorporating a function to filter unwanted contents is by itself not a difficult task. For content creators it is important however, to consider the wider social ramifications of such decisions and their effect on the further evolution of digital media.

The task of the designer ends not with the layout of distinct elements of information, or the profiling of a specific targeted user group, but extends to more general issues such as the profound comprehension of the function of the media and their role in society.

In Asia, generally speaking, there has been no training for information literacy and there is a tendency to overlook the above mentioned amongst both information designers and users.
To utilize new digital media such as the Internet effectively, it is important to develop a scrupulous approach to 'information design'.

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