Thursday, April 16, 2015
Responsive sites or vacant lots?
Something is surely happening to the internet that, in the opinion of an amateurish web designer and professional ranter, is contributing to the advancement of the slow death of culture.
Regard the recent "amelioration" of the BBC news site - it is virtually void of content. Responsive websites are all the rage - rage, rage against the dying of the light, or just the machine? I have tried to create a responsive website but the one size fits all is all form without substance and then, even so, has very little form. Websites are about two basic concepts; communication and aesthetics - responsive sites are concerned merely with function. Whilst this is all well and good in the concrete world, function and utility being essential, it is pointless from a human perspective in a virtual world. The functionality derives its purpose from the limitations of our tiny tablet and phone screens and not "our" needs. Everything is being reduced to a button (virtual) and a video clip. Information is no longer being read or presented. It just is, as though this is a criteria for verity. Back to the BBC and in catering to the morons of the facebook age their new site looks more like a "wall" of cat and rap videos to like..
If we lose the art of reading we are well on the way to losing the art of reflection and understanding. Video clips of news events may be "entertaining" but it is passive, and boringly so.
Of course, I could be mistaken and this is all camouflage; our new cultural prescription to inform the masses without their knowledge. The question this must pose is that when does the camouflage itself become so good that we only see what is presented and not that which is hidden. Have we become like predators of the chameleon, seeing only luxuriant leafy vegetation and no meat? This raises the question as to whether this cultural camouflage hides so well its content that the content itself ceases to exist if it is not to be perceived...
The internet is a fantastic tool to inform and liberate most of us and yet it is becoming an empty façade for banality and emptiness. The debate about form and substance has long been left behind, along with both the form and the substance. If we are not careful we shall soon be left with an empty shell, a complete cultural void. The chameleon may have to adapt to the changing environment but if that environment no longer sustains it...