An Online Design Journey of

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Online Design

Albert Einstein

Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.

Albert Einstein

World-Making Skills

We are on the verge of a major shift in our culture. New digital worlds (artificial worlds made by human and computers) are reshaping the way we think, communicate and work. The World Wide Web is a window into a new social space. Rather than seeing it as neutral, the design perspective suggests that digital technology is introducing a new rationality and a potential opportunity for change based on a new knowledge economy and on a culture-based local identities. It is our belief that computer technology, in concert with other efforts, can play a positive role in rebuilding community. The questions to explore are: what are the new features introduced by the new media? In which ways can people take advantage of them?

The new information practices pose a radical challenge to the new users: how to navigate global spaces in order to design local actions. It is the design of situations that matters, as well as the learning process that it takes to get there. Bringing people (new users) into design is an immediate need, not only a desirable goal. Conventional design approaches assumes that we can separate the technical aspects of design from the human aspects; experts should design the technological solutions, and those in the system should accept them. However, the concerns and ideas of people in the new communication systems should be the basic fabric of design. Every person can make an important contribution. In fact, the fullest participation provides people with an opportunity for the exploration and development of new ideas, and facilitates personal and collective development.

Imagination without technology can lead to utopias in the vacuum; technology without imagination can end up fragmenting our soul. How do we get the right mix? We know that the new information technology will bring changes we can't even conceive today, both in the way we think about the world, and interact with others. In order to change the world, we have to change ourselves first. Our perceptions must change, get rid of what is not anymore, and learn to welcome the new. We need to prepare ourselves to reinvent the future in daily activities, stories, dialogues, and projects that should inspire, support, and sustain the new visions of the world that are needed in society today, both at a local level and in cyberspace.

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© Silvia Austerlic 2001