IDF – Interactive Web Communication – Question 6

IDF – Interactive Web Communication – Question 6

Today the Interactive Design Foundation asked: What publications circulate among your target demographic? Do a search, and make a list of relevant publications. They also wanted us to analyze such texts for word-length, vocab and etc. Earlier in the lesson, they’d suggested googling “values of” xyz cultural subgroup.

BW & AW could not get on board with that way of thinking about design:

Our target audience is not a demographic, but an aspect of each human being: the best part: the Light within!​ So hah! We’re not going to go find texts of xyz subculture so we can parrot it back to them to create the illusion that we are in their club. We don’t approve of all this clubbiness!!!!! We will not google “the values of xyz race, income level, and age” We will google “value of people who live for kindness”, understand that that is the true aspiration of all human beings, and fasten on this (​) article’s quote from P Fierrucci, who tried to break kindness down into parts: empathy, modest, patience, generosity, respect, loyalty, gratitude. And for books, we will google “loving kindness literature” Here’s something:

We don’t need to deconstruct the language of anyone’s writings. We humans don’t want to be the little sing-song huddle-up-under-the-myths nonsense our groups say we are. Don’t steal my styles and prejudices to win me with flattery and regurgitated group-think! Write clear and calm and let me in to the space where we admit that we’re all in this together. The question is not how to make designs that trick people into thinking they’re among “friends” (ie: people who share their prejudices about how people should think, act, speak, dress, and otherwise carry on), but how to make a user experience that invites both designer and user into the kind of space created by a loving-kindness meditation. Now how do we do that? How long the sentence? How quick the cadence? Light sparkles off shifting waters quick and lively; but it also echoes slow and calm through openings in the forest canopy. So the answer’s not in the cadence. Vocabulary? Shakespeare caught the light, but so do the little kindnesses of some no-account’s day to day. No, vocabulary is not the answer. Everyone longs for the same thing: true joy. Our copy must sparkle with God’s laughter: that is the copy that gives people not the trite boring stories they think they need to hear in order to feel safe/important/bloated, but the path that deep inside we all recognize, believe in, and are grateful for–the path that nourishes us in empathy, modesty, patience, generosity, respect, loyalty, gratitude, kindness, shared joy. But how do we write this copy? The one that gives people not what their shallows suppose they are and which sycophants manipulate in order to keep them in the shallows, but what their depths know is what they really are. How to write the copy of life overflowing?

What is the list of things to make sure we do for our website’s copy?
It should be pleasant, encouraging, open-hearted/-minded
It should be honest: gentle with ourselves and others, but also relentlessly accurate
It should listen patiently and empathetically to the user and to the world. Empathy is not about pretending you are in the same club as someone one. It is about living in the knowledge that everyone is in the same club. But what is the copy that lives in that knowledge? How does one write kindly? You just take it easy. Take it easy on everybody. Have fun together. Let everyone in. Exclude no one. Hurt nothing. Kindness is a spiritual good, and as such it is beyond definition. On the other hand, we can use concepts to point towards it–meaningfully, though not definitively/literally. And so sketches like the one we found: empathy, modesty, patience, generosity, etc can be good rules of thumbs. But how do you write in a way that is empathetic, modest, patient, generous, respectful, loyal-to-the-Light-within-and-through-each-human, grateful? Keep trying?

Line of questioning from IDF
Disapproval at the assumptions behind the questions and hand-wringing over the question of how one could actually escape those assumptions and write a truly blessed copy: BW & AW

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