Bill Moggridge Book Review (2011)

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  • Designing Media By Bill Moggridge
    Book review for Azure magazine.
     

  • As the creator of the very first computer laptop, and a renowned design thinker to boot, Bill Moggridge has the experience to understand the significance of design and its relationship to media. In this new book he explores the tug of war between media and content through a series of snapshot interviews with such leading innovators as Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg, Evan Williams of Twitter, and savvy content creators like radio personality Ira Glass and Arthur Sulzberger Jr., publisher of the New York Times. Each offers a unique perspective of how media and content interact, and how design is a significant force in shaping the overall experience.
     
    Among the ideas that come through is how the sheer volume of online content has turned readers into curators, and with that, there is an endless demand for access, personalization and transparency. This new behaviour is fundamentally shaping how stories get told and shared. Moggridge further describes how this ever-changing landscape is also creating limitless opportunities to design and deliver content to meet consumer desire. According to forecaster Paul Saffo, “We’re right in the middle of a massive shift from an information world to a media world”. He adds, “Media is information gone deep into our lives. This is a world of personal media…a world where answering back is not an option, it is required.” He also says, “Old media never disappears,it just gets pressed into new kinds of uses’ and becomes another type of interface.”

    The book’s various McLuhanesque discussions provide a wonderful ego boost for design, and as Moggridge suggests, design thinking and design practice are primary tools in shaping the digital world.  Designing media is a textbook sized primer on these ideas and well worth the read for those seeking insight in how successful media is created.

    Todd Falkowsky is a co-founder of theCanadian Design Resource, and works as a design consultant in Vancouver.