Reading Response B

An excerpt from

Conversation 1 of 3
From “Vacuuming and Digesting,” a fall conversation series at Yale about interactive design
November 14, 2017, 1:30pm
Yale School of Art, EIK (32 Edgewood Ave)

Ayham Do students feel more empowered with the Yale wiki versus staff using the Whitney’s website? I guess we could ask everyone: Is there something about the site that makes you inclined to contribute and change it?

Micah Barrett When I was looking at it a while ago, I was noticing some patterns with subtle little GIFs. Specifically the background image module. Some of them are pretty direct and obvious, like the background on the calendar page. Then I found myself really enjoying the financial aid background image, which is this really bizarre contraption GIF. You’re moving through the site. I was starting to read it in a slightly different way which was really exciting.

Ayham You felt like there was some sort of meaning in someone putting that GIF on the financial aid page?

Micah Yeah, exactly.

Micah A current student was leaving a secret message for me as a prospective student. I don’t even remember what it was, but it was in either class listing in the background or the classroom page, someone put a really disgusted face. I was like, “Oh, is this a message? Should I be worried about this class?” That was enjoyable.

Daniel I think undergrads undergo a similar experience with the site. We occupy a position that isn't quite an 'active member' of the site – since we don't have access – but we're not quite 'prospective students' either. We also have a unique over-the-shoulder look into the inner workings of, too, through our involvement with the school. Reading into the gifs is something undergrads do often. I have a friend who thinks the dancing cartoon bird gif on the undergraduate page is infantilizing. I think it's kind of an apt portrayal of us. For us, I think there's always a tension between being a casual onlooker and wanting in on the 'fun' of the site. There's this sense of exclusivity to the wiki that I think is crucial to realizing the intent of the design? To be honest, I'm just learning so much about the site today.