Gerry Leonidas-„To typografia, Jim…"/ "It's typography, Jim…"

July 25, 2019 posted by



hello everybody and thank you for coming today the clock has started so I'm going to do this really quickly I'm going to give you a short number of observations some challenges for designers one conclusion and I'm going to risk some predictions as well so stuff that is out there and putting designers center stage we are always facing a filtering set of decisions how do we manage all the information that is out there available for students and tailoring this down to text box so far we haven't had that much of a problem if you're having a process which produces print editions but the moment you start opening up connections to the world you'll have to face this problem we're talking a lot about new media there isn't such a thing as you media for each student coming on to a textbook the experience of learning is new so they have to learn the new textbook the new teacher the new class curriculum through a device that they're probably more familiar with so it's the process of learning that is a new thing to learn rather than the device too much already mentioned Korea as an example even though we think we're connecting things here in the European environment in reality we're working with development that happened internationally the lawsuit drive happening right now in the states between the publishers Apple Amazon song is changing how textbooks are produced rapidly and those developments will have an impact for us our relationship to resources is changing when Britannica is not in print anymore and it is only online then the key question is not to get people not to check things in print or not to check things online but how do they integrate Britannica alongside Wikipedia and along the other resources that they have the online is out there all the time at the same time this means that things that are in print are a bit more permanent and not because they are capturing the news but also because of all the conditions are going to making them the things that are on paper are worth preserving we are always one step behind as teachers as educators behind the market people are faced with problems example how to deal with large data sets there's information available publicly for example about public expenditure how do you display this to use this is a design problem that before we have managed to train the next generation of designers the market is out there producing solutions devices are agnostic especially if you're talking about the tablet the thing that you use to play World of Goo is also used to read your newspaper will be used rated to do your classes and children especially becoming very very good at adapting to the different scenarios of use around a specific device at the moment minecraft is the best tool for learning about spatial arrangements we don't have at the moment a plug-in from minecraft that will teach my children the properties of materials but I'm waiting for that because this is a much better way for them to learn than to read about it in print so for challenges we're still beginning to explore what is needed typographically to be able to produce rich textbook material online we don't have enough families for typefaces develop for screen we don't have these families developed for an international audience these are just the beginnings of resources available online through a browser or through any device to capture all the complexity of typographic material for learning magdalene and i gotta mention the editorial processes this is on an ipad but it's not an e-book it's not a textbook it is actually a typewritten document electronically produced it's like a picture of something produced with an IBM Selectric on a very flash device and you can see that the separation between the navigation and the document is not there you can also see that the table has been split across two pages and at the bottom there is a column that continues on to the next page well that doesn't make sense in a device that can scroll up and down on has quite a lot of flexibility why isn't the information captured a bit more intelligently at the moment we don't have the refinement to specify in CSS for example these conditionalities that the typographer things about that certain headings will need to connect in specific ways with the text below and so on that stuff needs to happen before we can get the complex information that we need to translate into electronic textbooks if you want to try really to solve difficult problems you can look at mathematical textbooks or geometry text which when you need to get a lot of display of complex material typographically with annotations alongside the main text designers are still making reference to things like Photoshop and InDesign and making things even by hand we're in design is a very stable environment and it's designed for something like this where we can look at an object as a series of specific experiences the concept of the spread is universal in how we think about documents so we know what the teacher means when they say turn to page 34 if I'm holding a documents about 64 pages it's roughly somewhere on the middle in reality if you talk about an e-book you talk about something like this but in reality this doesn't tell me how many of these articles are there so I lose a lot of the navigation that comes with the physical nature of the object so minecraft and world of goo and the Guardian and my textbook all look exactly the same in my hands the thing doesn't tell me anything about how to navigate and it's this bit at the top that the designer needs to come up with new ways of explaining how do we navigate the different options in the document yeah we'll get back to this a bit late but is more to this we also get very excited about being able to introduce images and music and moving media in the textbook but at the moment what you see that people will see them as add-ons as things that interrupt the flow of the text well that's not a very good thing because perhaps you want to be able to allow people to move seamlessly through the different conventions and we already mentioned the interaction with doodling and things that we create onto the document how were we able to annotate a movie for example that we see alongside the text at the same time the strength of the conventions that we are used to are extremely strong even in environments like a digital newspaper and this from a few years back the conventions of the printed document still survive we are always referring back to the hierarchy that the print document has introduced to us to the relationship of images and text that the print documents have introduced to us so there's a lot to learn from this this for specific problems that traditional typography has not addressed and when you look at textbooks they will be very critical so if we take one over articles that we had before the article itself might have connections to the outside world so links at the moment we're using quite a lot of conventions from websites but in that case we are in an environment where we are expected to navigate then we might be using browsers with tabs and so on which might not be ideal to use in a textbook we also have user annotations so I'm reading something and I'm making a comment about this something while I'm reading it this is somebody needs to be integrated and we need to find space for it and you need to find effortless ways to show that there is some sort of annotation there at the same time documents are becoming community objects so you might have comments that somebody else has made so your classmates perhaps all the teacher that they want you to read as well and these things they might have links themselves so these four design problems are right that right there at the outset of a document that is connected that we need to solve the some interesting examples of how people deal with these things literature is the most promising environment at the moment simply because it's very easy to parse pros so you just dump it through search engine and you can find all the text strings that might make sense small demon is a website that builds connections from one text to other things that are inside the text so I can read about the music that is referenced in a book or the books of the referenced in a book so if I'm reading a story about a character listening to some music while they're doing something in the book I can go and listen to that music and that begins to make the experience a bit more rich yeah my conclusions we need to find a way of marrying together the lessons of traditional typography the stuff that we have been teaching people for decades for hundreds of years through doing the same thing again and again and combine this in a world that is very connected that doesn't have a lot of ways of telling us how to make these connections justify themselves or rank themselves here's my predictions nothing exciting is going to happen we're talking about it but what is going on at the moment is that publishers have contracts with schools or with authors that run for three to five years yeah and stuff is in place and the school functions on a budget cycle that is coming from a government or some local authority and they're not going to change it overnight so nothing interesting is going to happen also it's actually relatively easy to just produce these glorified word documents scan something in or convert something in the PDF so even if you have an iPad in front of every child you just have an iPad that displays a word document it takes some time for people to think things afresh so what you want to do is first of all wait until current textbooks begin to get a little bit obsolete so the authors of textbooks have to write a fresh version and then they think okay how am I going to integrate all these new lessons into what I'm writing the other thing that you want to do is schools to find out how to use these kind of resources and going to talk about this in a bit hold that thought we have quite a lot of experience in designing the interaction with complex information locally so transitioning from a large screen at home on our tablet is not that big a problem this quite a lot of work that's been not done out there through RSS aggregators information aggregators like Instapaper on how to display complex information quite densely newspapers are also very good at trying out new things because they go from a broadsheet where they might have said to eight or nine even entry points in each page down to tabloid about five and three points in each page three if they are and news are important and they have to get that kind of information density down to a tablet size so by the time the office of textbooks are out there trying to write the next version there will be all these solutions out there and the students will be aware of them and their parents will be aware of them because they'll be reading the newspapers on their magazines on a tablet so they'll be able to explain these conventions the kids will also see that the basic conventions at the level of the paragraph are extremely stable for 500 years not much has changed in the sweet spot of text size is that we find comfortable reading the fact that you're looking at things on an e or an iPad or any other device doesn't mean that you suddenly want to look at line length of the twice as long you still want to look at things that at reading distance are comfortably long enough to get enough words in not long enough for you to lose track of the next line the silent explosion of personal aggregators things like Instapaper readability and so on that allow people to collect information as they traverse their day I think will become increasingly important as people collect links through Twitter through connections through Facebook but they don't have time to read them on the spot all these solutions developed ways to allow us to collect all of this so later at night when my kids are in bed I can go back and read all of that stuff now imagine a teacher sending out links to children in preparation to a class the children collecting these links that might come with a certain expectation that this is their homework they have to follow these links up how do you collect these what is the interface that allows you to see the stuff that your teacher has sent your your peers yeah trust systems Cora is the most interesting example right now where people are able to explain what it is that they do and how they transfer the knowledge they build in a named over the environment that allows them to explain why the reviews are relevant and this interestingly is done under people's own James this one of the big debate that is happening right now with apologies to all the teachers she and it's not the teachers fault but if you're a teacher you start something on an annual basis and the world might change halfway through the year you're still going through the year nothing is going to change into the next September yeah and the national curriculum needs to be there and that needs to change from year to year so the market is changing but schools always and universities change very slowly at the same time you have the problem of having a system that for now 20 years nearly has been developed to have teaching in classroom without computing resources and then the children woke up and go to the ICT sweet that's what we call it in England and they sit in front of the computers to in front of its computer and they do the computer a bit and then they go back the classroom yeah and if you say we're going to throw this away and give children iPads to look at stuff well if the teachers don't know how to use these iPads the schools have not adapted their ICT resources to use these resources with a wireless network in the classroom the exercises have not been developed and you've all got this empty room that was the ICT sweet so it is not so quick not so easy you need architects you need people to match the resources you need teaching clients to change it needs to take some time and that's it I think I'm done with plenty of time to spare what are the lessons from this we're talking about a lot of stuff we need to be quite careful in which bits we're going to throw away which paid things we're going to change yeah and which things we keep there's a lot of stuff in traditional typography that we can bring into this new environment of textbooks and a lot of stuff that is very valid in maintaining and extending at the same time there's quite a lot of lessons we can learn from other industries that are very relevant what we're doing but I don't think we should be jumping on the bandwagon and throwing everything we do away simply because there's quite a lot of embedded knowledge in how we've been doing things for quite a few years thank you very much you you

2 Comments

2 Replies to “Gerry Leonidas-„To typografia, Jim…"/ "It's typography, Jim…"”

  1. Łukasz Kowalski says:

    Ciekawe

  2. kuglepen64 says:

    Hi Gerry! You are awesome!

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