What would our digital media environment look like without Net Neutrality. Who is for Net Neutrality and why and who is against it and why?
Net Neutrality is the idea that all forms of communication on the internet should be treated equally (Honan, 2015). Similarly, the idea of the ‘open internet’, was defined by the FCC (2015) as an internet where “consumers can go where they want, when they want”.
The idea of an open internet has been challenged multiple times, most notably in 2011, when the US Government attempted to pass the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) bills. These “propose that anyone found guilty of streaming copyrighted content without permission 10 or more times within six months should face up to five years in jail” (BBC, 2012). Due to outside situations in the US Government, voting on these bills was postponed, and no agreement on them has yet been reached.
In 2012, the FCC began considering the value of Net Neutrality being required by law. This caused many people to voice their opinions, both for and against, Net Neutrality. Everyday users of the internet are the primary advocates of keeping the internet neutral, as changes to the way they interact with the internet will affect them greatly. Ammori (2014) outlines the basis of the argument for Net Neutrality, saying the Government has two choices, “allow the Internet to remain an a engine of innovation, a platform for speech in even the harshest tyrannies, and a unified connection for people across the globe — or cede control of the Internet to service providers motivated by their parochial interests.” ISP providers on the other hand, could benefit greatly without Net Neutrality, as they could then limit their users access to certain sites, offering them for a set price per month, and so making a much greater profit off their users.
Ciarlo (2013) created a graphic depicting what could happen if Net Neutrality was no longer around:
(Screenshot from http://www.theopeninter.net/, an infographic about Net Neutrality and its benefits)
In conclusion, I believe making Net Neutrality a legal obligation is the only way for the internet to remain as free and accessible as it currently is. To allow ISP providers to alter what content they give their users would significantly decrease the quality of the internet experience.
After some discussion, my group decided that we should base our web application on a travel website, allowing users to compare different holidays. As is required in the brief the users can sort the holidays (possibly by location or type of holiday) and will be able to refine their search using key words and filters.
There should also be an option for a user to add an entry, although I’m not 100% sure how it would work. At the minute I think this would be more effective as a user-based rating website, similar to something like tripadvisor, where a user could post an image and a description of a holiday they had been on, and other users could see this review of their holiday. This aspect of the project will need to be discussed more as a group to figure out the logistics of it but overall I think a travel website is a good, achievable project.
I began some initial research into similar websites, to get an idea of a good website structure. Here are three examples that I looked at:
First Choice – http://www.firstchoice.co.uk/
Direct Holidays – http://www.directholidays.co.uk/Thomas Cook – https://ww2.thomascook.com/
Something I noticed with all three of these websites is that the search bar is easily seen straight away, positioned at the very top of the page so no scrolling is required to reach it. I also think that the Login/Register button being located at the top of the page is a good idea, as if a user had to scroll for ages to find it they would probably give up and use a different site. A simple layout with clear buttons is something these three websites all have, and is a key feature which I would like to incorporate into our web application.
I began sketching out some ideas for the layout of our web application. At this stage we’ve narrowed down what we’re doing to either a recipe sharing site, or a website about different holidays. Bearing this is mind I sketched out a couple of variations which could be applied to either idea. I think it’s important to have the header the full width of the page, with maybe a login option on it, and I like the idea of the information we’re showing being displayed as an image with writing beside it, as shown below.
Basic web page structure ideas
This is just a very simple look at some possibilities for now, until we decide as a group which web application we will be creating, so then I can focus on making a more complex and relevant layout.
To collect the data for my poster I followed the link provided in the brief to The World Factbook (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook), where I found a list of the countries of the world ordered by life expectancy. In order to avoid my poster being cluttered with too much information, I have decided to only represent data for countries in Europe.
I then copied and pasted the data for my selected countries into a word document in order to visualise it more clearly, without the irrelevant countries in between. This gave me an idea of the variations in the data, and showed me that my design would have to take into consideration the fact that the data does not have a very large spread. This means that a full timeline from 0 to 100 will not be effective, as the data for each country is the same for a large majority of that time. In order to visualise this data clearly, I will have to focus heavily on the fifteen year period between 70 and 85, as this is the time when the data is most interesting.
I have decided to do the brief “Who lives the longest” for my poster, and so I have spent some time researching ideas to take inspiration from. As my poster will need to display countries and the life expectancy of them, I will need to visualise both space and time. The majority of examples I could find online focused on depicting space, as shown below:
This type of poster, with a scale by colour could be used in regards to life expectancy, with the countries with the lowest life expectancy in red working up to highest in green. However, this is a very simplistic way of representing this data.
These two graphics also use quite a simple map, this time with a figure that increases or decreases in size depending on the data it’s representing. This is an idea I could possibly use, with male and female figures changing size depending on life expectancy in their country.
This map is slightly more abstract than the other examples, as instead of showing the actual shape of the countries, there are circles of various sizes. I think this is an interesting idea, and I could adapt it by having each circle’s size depend on the life expectancy in that country. However, this could distort the map to the extent that the countries are not recognisable, and could be very confusing.
I then spent some time looking for graphics depicting progression of time.
This one shows the development of different music media, and depicts its popularity over a series of years.
This one is displaying the extinction of several different animals, projecting the ideas into the future. I think something like this could work with my theme, as it is essentially a timeline which is well suited to life expectancy.
As this project requires me to create a poster communicating a message with minimal text, I decided to take a look at some examples of this kind of work.
One website we were introduced to in our seminar was informationisbeautiful.net, a collection of infographics on a range of topics. These posters gave me some ideas about how to lay out my own poster, demonstrating the wide variety of ways to present information.
One I particularly liked is shown below:
This poster is demonstrating leading causes of death in the 20th Century, and does so using minimal writing. It uses the size of the circles to immediately show the viewer which causes are most common, and it doesn’t require a key as it is simple enough to figure out independently.
This infographic is an interactive one I found on the Guardian website, demonstrating the causes and effects of climate change:
By selecting a category at the top, the map contorts to display the most relevant continents as much bigger. Although my poster cannot be interactive like this, I think that the idea of different continents or countries being different sizes is interesting, and could be something I could integrate into my project.
This week we were set our fourth task in the seminar, which involves kinetic typography. We have to ‘Use and develop your knowledge of AfterEffects to generate a sequence of no less than 20 seconds in which kinetic typography is used to accompany and enhance a soundtrack featuring voice.’
The soundtrack could be chosen by me, or I could use the audio clip provided.
Kinetic typography is essentially just the technical name for ‘moving text’. It involves movement of text in an interesting way, usually with an accompanying audio clip, to creatively present a message.
Kinetic typography is often used in the opening sequences to TV shows or movies, for example, in the opening credits for ‘Anatomy Of A Murder’:
For the task, we were encouraged to use only text, and avoid including images in our project. An example of this text-only kinetic typography, and the strong visual effect it can have can be seen below:
I particularly like this piece, because of the way only two fonts were used, meaning there was no overcrowding. I also liked the way the words all fit together nicely in a box formation, giving the scenes order, which is something I would like to try and recreate with my piece.