The digital revolution has deeply transformed our lives and our societies without a plain display of its core principles and technologies. Despite the revolution is so powerful to condition every aspect of human life, it is made visible only by the changes it generates. Therefore we have developed the urge to represent it and to portray its complexity. A few technological elements have struck our imagination, sparking a brand new visual syntax that conveys a sense of convolution and marvel. Monochrome monitors, prevalent in the early-to-mid-1980s, with their phosphor screens, black backgrounds and clear, bright typography were assumed as key elements for cyberspace visual code, from William Gibson's "Burning Chrome" and "Neuromancer" to the Wachowski brothers' "Matrix" trilogy. But these representations' only purpose was to show the invisible flow of data, in order to astound and entertain. Since then, the explosive growth of networks, Internet and information systems has clearly demonstrated that data were complex enough by themselves, without any need for a visual syntax dedicated to make people able to imagine that complexity. The immeasurable amount of information created and processed every day requires a syntax dedicated to render abstract data accessible and comprehensible, in order to make people able to cope with density and involvedness of reality datasets. Neural and cosmic images have been compared to Internet and data maps because of their complexities and resemblances. This brought in specific sets of visual rules that descend from the peculiarities and the operating principles of the instrumentations which those images were created with. These visual rules may even apply, but are inherited from thoroughly dissimilar scientific fields. The digital revolution has many key technical and formal elements that could influence the shape of its representation, but it has no complete grammar, nor any imaging instrument to derive its own pictures from. Nevertheless it requires a set of visual representation rules to display information in clear, structured ways. In this rising syntax, color plays an essential role: it must serve the cause of usability.

From marvel to usability: the evolution in use of color to depict the digital revolution

VIAN, ANDREA
2014

Abstract

The digital revolution has deeply transformed our lives and our societies without a plain display of its core principles and technologies. Despite the revolution is so powerful to condition every aspect of human life, it is made visible only by the changes it generates. Therefore we have developed the urge to represent it and to portray its complexity. A few technological elements have struck our imagination, sparking a brand new visual syntax that conveys a sense of convolution and marvel. Monochrome monitors, prevalent in the early-to-mid-1980s, with their phosphor screens, black backgrounds and clear, bright typography were assumed as key elements for cyberspace visual code, from William Gibson's "Burning Chrome" and "Neuromancer" to the Wachowski brothers' "Matrix" trilogy. But these representations' only purpose was to show the invisible flow of data, in order to astound and entertain. Since then, the explosive growth of networks, Internet and information systems has clearly demonstrated that data were complex enough by themselves, without any need for a visual syntax dedicated to make people able to imagine that complexity. The immeasurable amount of information created and processed every day requires a syntax dedicated to render abstract data accessible and comprehensible, in order to make people able to cope with density and involvedness of reality datasets. Neural and cosmic images have been compared to Internet and data maps because of their complexities and resemblances. This brought in specific sets of visual rules that descend from the peculiarities and the operating principles of the instrumentations which those images were created with. These visual rules may even apply, but are inherited from thoroughly dissimilar scientific fields. The digital revolution has many key technical and formal elements that could influence the shape of its representation, but it has no complete grammar, nor any imaging instrument to derive its own pictures from. Nevertheless it requires a set of visual representation rules to display information in clear, structured ways. In this rising syntax, color plays an essential role: it must serve the cause of usability.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/812298
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact