Reading Response #7

to Artful Design, Chapter 7: Social Design

Frankie S.

2022 November 14

Music 256A / CS476a, Stanford University

Reading Response: Technology Should Strive to get Out of the Way

Right off the bat this chapter was preaching facts. In particular Principle 7.3 struck a chord with me. “Technology should strive to get out of the way.” I totally feel this in my day to day life. There is nothing worse than when I want to get something done and have to futz around with the inconveniences of the limit of computer screen space, or the mechanics of switching tabs, or the clunkiness with almost any calendar app ever designed. There are so many times throughout the day when I find myself saying ‘I wish it just understood’. Good design goes unnoticed, bad design screams out at you.

I am totally in accordance with this idea that technology should strive to get out of the way–just like good design, it should go unnoticed. I particularly like the take on social media. To be honest it sucks. It really doesn’t deliver on its claim to connect people to each other because while it gives you the opportunity to see what your friends and loved ones are doing it also gives you an excuse to not actually call them up and talk… you already know what they are doing.

I think the core of it goes to the ‘Authenticity’ factor outline in principle 7.4. “Does the tool seek to elevate us?” this absolutely should play a bigger role in how we evaluate success of tech and design. This is certainly a question we are asking about facebook and other social media, but it has very little to do with our evaluation of these companies. I want that to change. I wish we could turn the tables on facebook or meta or whatever the hell they want to call themselves to rebrand and have a system that evaluates how much people like them. I guess we have app reviews, but I want something more visible and thought provoking. Like that episode of blackmirror but for corporations. Like upvotes on fizz but for social media companies. Maybe then they will care more about what we think and consider the damage they cause everyday.