Murch claims that film is like thought and is the closest to thought process of any art. I am at odds with this statement. I suppose we need to define art. Is Design art? Is Experience Design art? This has been heavily debated, and I’m not ready to join the discourse, yet. However, as Experience Designers or Interaction Designers, we are required to understand reactions, interactions and the human experience as a whole. Therefore, what we do necessarily requires a near identical mapping to expectations and thoughts of people.

This idea of leaving out, or cutting away information to create an experience, sentiment, affect, what have you, is the most important aspect of storytelling. Whether it be with data, film, or just within conversation, we simply cannot express or share everything. If we did, the details would be lost and become meaningless. Of course what is revealed or hidden is contingent, and therefore, I will call this contextual selection.

Consider this interactive visualization of the evolution of the world wide web.

It doesn’t include a pre-history to computing, specific people involved, nor does it include information about hardware or other programming languages. The context is quite clear; this is about the web.  Here we have a layout of browsers & markup languages, when they were introduced, and how each technology and development interacted with one another over time. What I want to bring attention to is the amount of information presented. The visualization invites the user to explore and decide what information to bring to his or her own attention. Even with this free-form set-up, the intent seems to invoke amazement at the growth and evolution of the internet as well as provide a more comprehensive understanding of said evolution. This information was designed in this way. It was curated and presented for this specific context and purpose. This is what we do as designers. We mimic and create thought and interactions. It may be called art, but it is definitely a form of manipulation.

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