Project in Broader Contexts

In its broader contexts my project relates to the use of technology as a way to help solve social and cultural problems that society is facing. All forms of media are intended to help improve our lives through allowing users to communicate, share information, and be entertained. But ICT’s are different to other forms of media in that they allow the creation of information that can be unique to each user depending on how they interact with the product, in this project the user enters data into the fields which is relative to their personal habits, the data is then returned to them in a format which is only of use to them, this is something that is different to past analogue forms of media where the content has to be relatable to a broader audience as it cannot be manipulated to be more relatable to each individual user. This is useful because it allows information to be presented in ways which can help users track their own personal habits through interacting with the medium. This could arguably be the most defining characteristic of the web and relates to ideas that the Internet can be used to improve  societal and personal aspects of our lives which also relates to technological determinism and social constructivism.

The project also relates to consumer behaviour, and demand and supply. If you can change consumer habits through providing information on the social implications of consuming the product the demand may decrease which means the production will decrease as there is no longer as much of a demand for that product. It also challenges the notion that humans are rational and will change their habits if they are presented with a logical reason as to why they should, and argues against the idea that the majority of individuals are simply passive consumers who will neglect reason in exchange for getting the product they want.

In terms of design the project relates to making information more presentable through the use of infographics. Because the Internet is capable of using a range of multimedia there has been a lot of experiments on design which differ from previous content on the internet during the ‘web 1.0’ phase. Due to the introduction of programming languages such as javascript and css3 (to name a few examples) there is a lot more room for experimentation, especially in relation to how users engage with the content. This project isn’t very experimental when compared to other websites but takes some of the aspects of web 2.0 designs such as images and animation to present a ‘more interesting’ piece of information which attempts to use imagery to make the information more engaging to the user. I am essentially using graphs and charts to make data more readable, the main difference being that the designs are more visually aesthetic and less static.

How the Project Relates to Past Work

This project relates to work I previously did in the design iterations unit during the second year. The intention of the project in that unit was to try and make people reflect on their impact on the environment as a collective. In that unit I used processing (a java library used for visual arts) to detect movement on a camera. Skyscrapers would appear on the screen depending on how many people there were within the view of the on board camera. This was intended to show that the higher the population, the more the natural landscape changes, and like this current project was intended to make individuals reflect on their own personal influence on society. The other project however was more conceptual and thought provoking where as The Meat Counter is intended to be more productive as users can determine how much of an impact on the livestock industry they are contributing.

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