The idea that digital information should be accessible to "anyone, anywhere, anytime, anyhow" creates both challenges and opportunities for the graphic designer. As information becomes more fluid and its manifestations more mutable, it seems increasingly resistant to being graphically designed. The free flow of 1s and 0s through multiple devices burns away context, leaving only bare wires of data to be sliced up by search engines, spliced into RSS feeds, or absorbed by the ambient interactions of the technological surround.
Not only is visual complexity lost in the process of translation from one device to another, but graphic elements may prevent the information from being accessed at all. In evaluating the efficacy of a website, Google technologist T.V. Raman recently recommended that designers simply listen to their work: "It turns out that much of the visual complexity that creates stumbling blocks for mobile users also become show-stoppers when it comes to listening to a web page using screenreaders." When designing for multiple devices, how something listens may be more important than how it looks.
While design seems to be increasingly restricted by the demands of technology, the need for compassionate mediation between the individual and the ever-expanding universe of information has never been greater.
This panel will reevaluate graphic design pedagogy through the emerging context of multiple devices. We will consider how the process of designing for multiple devices differs from designing for a specific medium, and how to reconcile a need to create visual experiences that inform and engage with an environment in which information is constantly reinterpreted.