The following blog posts (visually) investigate how design plays an authoritative role on informative websites. The archive concentrates mainly on news websites’ design and the device you are using to access it, since nowadays the prominence of dis- and misinformation (or “fake news”) seems to be influencing today’s public opinion to a larger extent than ever before. I will discuss how design factors regarding media (mainly websites) are shaping the users’ ideas of what truth is, as well as how his or her understanding of how to incorporate the information given via text and images is so important when it comes to making use of online information sources as a tool to construct their personal world view. This archive aims to be a tool for other designers, struggling with the authoritative nature of their interface design, trying to mirror the identity of the person for whom the interface is meant to be designed. This archive can also give insights to those who are practicing information design and/or (internet-)journalism and who would like to gain deeper insight in how authoritative power is perceived in an online (remediated) space.
The basic theory of this archive is also applicable in other professions for example branding. In the first chapter I will explain how visual rhetoric and literacies determine how we perceive and communicate information. I will discuss why design principles originating from analogue forms are being reproduced onto the web, even though this creates a bias in how we perceive the given content, due to the different reading protocols that are used while constructing the digital and analogue interfaces. By discussing this I try to answer the question; Which mechanisms are essential in creating the authority within the message? Which linguistic and rhetoric protocols feel trustworthy?
In the second chapter I will elaborate on the theory applied to the case of journalism by discussing how the previously explained strategies and protocols have an impact on online news sources and how the interaction between the web-page interface, text and images disrupt our perception of the idea that news is an authoritative information source. In the concluding chapter I visually and verbally conclude the outcome of the previous chapters. This part can be found in the exhibition section.
The archive in its whole constitutes an paper that is spread out over several blog posts. The posts are according to this paper, the accompanied visual are always under the previous text post. Each image and text post is coded using a category according to the chapter it belongs to. The first text perceived at the image posts are section from the post it is connected to. The image further elaborates on what is being explained. The images variate between autonomous work and literal visual research. I strongly advise you to start with the hyperlinked paper as it visually and mentally introduces you to some of the things that will be discussed in the paper.
Lastly, I have structured my paper in the same vein as for example Deuze (2003). In this preface I must determine my definition of the word ‘’content’’. In this paper it will be used to define everything that can be seen in an interface. Not only the text, but also images such as article photos, ads, logos and design elements, that create the webpage as a whole. A frequently used sociological term is ‘’Social capital’’. The word is defined here as: The membership of a group or a network of relationships that provide members with a capital or credential specific to that group (Bourdieu, 1986). From this definition, one might extrapolate how the social digital environment can carry consequences for one’s real-life identity. Without specifically referring to them, the paper and accompanying visuals you are about to encounter were highly inspired by the work done by classical thinkers such as Emmanuel Kant (1790 ) and Walter Benjamin (1934), but also more modern scholars such as Baudrillard (1981) and Greenberg (2000).