“the design of web 2.0: the rise of the template, the fall of design”

Arola notes an implication of web 2.0 – the tendency to render form “standardized and invisible” – essentially rendering composing practices like web standards and the hardcoded divide between form/content moot points

She argues that althouth web authoring is different in web 2.0, the same kinds of considerations part of web 1.0 is important: the rhetorical functions of interface design, the potential of design per Kress and Van Leeuwen

She notes that web authoring has moved from the homepage – servers, HTML, CSS – to the post: WYSIWYG texts published to a template. On one hand, more people are authoring web content. On the other hand, people are not practicing “the purposeful choice and arrangement of page elements,” instead electing to adopt pre-selected colors, fonts, shapes, and layouts

She worries that students will become “the invention of the template,” that the machines which dictate the parameters governing composing limit students’ ability to do intellectual work (composition) in the same way a multiple choice test limits students ability to do intellectual work

The issue for Arola is agency, design agency (see: Kostelnick)

  • The loss of design agency witnessed in Web 2.0 is troubling in two ways. First, by not producing our own online designs, we have little control over a large part of our representation –> see: Prins on craft and subjectivity, a consequence of text-as-commodity?
  • Second, composing texts, more specifically making choices about the composition of a page or screen, helps individuals think through the ways in which design functions to make meaning and produce selves. –> see: again, Prins on craft

Arola goes onto note that social networking platforms have a design and allow a few opportunities for design (Myspace more than Facebook)

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