- Are the generic web templates, animoto-ish movies and voicethreads destroying the sanctity of high quality graphic design. If everyone can do it themselves then why would they hire a graphic designer?
- Is this the end to high quality, unique web design? Will all design be this generic web 2.0 for the masses look and feel?
- Is this the McDonald's-ization of Design?
- Will companies like Adobe, who earn their money making expensive products to create web design and edit imagery and video survive in an atmosphere of free-design-for-everyone?
- Will free design and image editing make the masses better consumers of high quality design?
- What I've taught all along is suddenly of value to the masses. As an art educator my knowledge of design principles is important in teaching students how to decipher and communicate visually, so why are so many visual arts jobs being cut around the country?
Ok before this post goes off the deep end...let me just say I have been pondering this a lot, visual communication is what I teach after all.
I decided to experiment with what's out there. I have already used a number of the highlighted 12 included: Google docs, Zoho Show, Animoto, Wikispaces, Voicethread and Schooltube. So I wanted to try something new. I decided to go with drop.io. I have never tried it before and the ability to link to files out on the web that might normally be too, large to embed into moodle or email was appealing. I have had special needs students whose IEP requires that I share my Powerpoints with them, but to do this via email or moodle is way too, big and requires far too, much time on my part to compress and convert. So drop.io allows you to drop any file, image, video up to 100mb and share the link with anyone. This is cool as it allows me to give students access to presentations from home or in other classrooms. The issue of viewing my Powerpoint as my creative property and putting them out there on the web for all to see and stumble upon and use is a discussion for another post! ;) You can subscribe to the drops as RSS feeds or download them to iTunes if they are video or audio content. My powerpoint as a file didn't work in iTunes, but if I'd saved as a movie file it would've. This is cool since it would allow students to view it on their ipods. If I had more time I'd experiment with this, but I'm in the middle of AP Exam crunch time with kids! Here is the link on my drop.io for the powerpoint on abstract realism.
The second site I tried is one of the do it yourself web design ones called weebly. It features the ability to easily design a website for yourself and have it posted and uploaded immediately. You need very little knowledge of design or html to be able to successfully do this. (sort of disturbing to someone who has an advanced degree in graphic communications and design!!!) I've already tried Yola and so Weebly sounded similar. I created a onepage website that is really more like a blog since it doesn't have anything but a journalistic post and an image, but it could grow into something. I am actually thinking I might make it my official artistic site with links to my images and purchasing info. It was really easy and intuitive to use this site and the templates were customizable. I didn't experiment with everything that was there, but I'd like to. Knowledge of Adobe products like Photoshop and Illustrator can help one create better looking images and graphics to add to the template, taking it to truly unique, although the layout is still somebody else's design, not mine. (yes that bugs me!)This may become my project for the rest of class. I've always wanted a professional artistic website with my images posted and contact and purchase information. I'd also love to list exhibits I am in and maybe someday if I teach adult classes, include a schedule of these. Again using software like Dreamweaver allows you to start from scratch and create whatever you want, but if you're willing to accept someone else's basic template you can be up and running in more time than it takes to sign up for a Dreamweaver class!
I am still pondering a lot of the questions I posed at the beginning of this post. It is a philosophical discussion to be had over the next few years as the Internet evolves and dictates the visual communications needs of generations to come.