Interaction design and propaganda

30 Mar 2009 - 1:49am
5 years ago
1 reply
697 reads
Jason Morrison
2009

I am periodic lurker on this list, but I thought this might prompt
some interesting discussion.

I just wrote a post on my blog
(http://www.jasonmorrison.net/content/2009/propaganda-maps-live-interactive-on-the-web/)
about an interactive Flash map created by the Sri Lanka Ministry of
Defence (http://www.defence.lk/orbat/Default.asp). The map is pretty
well-designed, and it's obvious they've put some thought into
representing information efficiently and giving users control of the
display. The Offensive Timeline is a pretty effective way to create
a narrative using maps and photos.

But, even if it's a good user experience and represents information
fairly accurately, it does show the point of view of one side in a
long and bloody civil war. I'm definitely not taking the side of
the LTTE, but clearly the map serves as propaganda in some sense.

Using maps and information graphics for propaganda is nothing new,
but does interactivity give governments additional tools to influence
public opinion? Do you as an interaction designer ever run into
ethical concerns? Has a regular, run-of-the-mill commercial client
asked you to omit information that was important to the user but
unflattering to their company?

I'm curious to hear what you think. Thanks.

Comments

30 Mar 2009 - 2:30am
Angel Marquez
2008

>>Using maps and information graphics for propaganda is nothing new,
but does interactivity give governments additional tools to influence
public opinion?
During your lurking haven't you noticed that most of the disputes are
resolved by someone agreeing with someone else or referencing a blog post as
if it is some sort of difficult defense to achieve? People diagnosing
problems and selling solutions? It's all very dark ages and I'm surprised
that cult mentality mob thing still exists.

>>Do you as an interaction designer ever run into ethical concerns?

I don't deem myself an interaction designer; but, I am well versed in the
discipline and know what they should be doing. Yes, the entire idea of
experience is used to generate revenue. The entire we do it for the users
really means we do it for the users who have money and if by keeping things
just out of reach or glossed over increases sales which in turn increases my
title and wage "lets do it, NOW". Keep your eye out for the ux ix dx ax
mxpx'er that will call you an edge case or want's to see how you think. They
are calling you a jerk and want to rip you off.

>> Has a regular, run-of-the-mill commercial client asked you to omit
information that was important to the user but unflattering to their
company?

You know the answer to this. I use systems all the time that are built to
rope you in and make you feel good about it. The systems are advanced enough
and you know their was the usual discovery,vision design phase that really
tuned and optimized the traps. Bury the returns form, hide the phone
numbers, etc. it's all apparent what their plan is from the call center dead
ends to the smiling guy laughing in your face for their ads once they've
screwed you to the wall.

I'm sure not all are guilty of this; but, I'm certain the ones that are
aren't going to come out and say yea I'm a profit monger designer it says so
on my business card.

Dude, it's all about the almighty dollar and bowing down to it.

On Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 4:49 PM, Jason Morrison <IxDA at jasonmorrison.net>wrote:

> I am periodic lurker on this list, but I thought this might prompt
> some interesting discussion.
>
> I just wrote a post on my blog
> (
> http://www.jasonmorrison.net/content/2009/propaganda-maps-live-interactive-on-the-web/
> )
> about an interactive Flash map created by the Sri Lanka Ministry of
> Defence (http://www.defence.lk/orbat/Default.asp). The map is pretty
> well-designed, and it's obvious they've put some thought into
> representing information efficiently and giving users control of the
> display. The Offensive Timeline is a pretty effective way to create
> a narrative using maps and photos.
>
> But, even if it's a good user experience and represents information
> fairly accurately, it does show the point of view of one side in a
> long and bloody civil war. I'm definitely not taking the side of
> the LTTE, but clearly the map serves as propaganda in some sense.
>
> Using maps and information graphics for propaganda is nothing new,
> but does interactivity give governments additional tools to influence
> public opinion? Do you as an interaction designer ever run into
> ethical concerns? Has a regular, run-of-the-mill commercial client
> asked you to omit information that was important to the user but
> unflattering to their company?
>
> I'm curious to hear what you think. Thanks.
>
> ________________________________________________________________
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