In this talk session, I propose a look at design in DH projects. Matthew Kirschenbaum suggests in “‘So the Colors Cover the Wires’: Interface, Aesthetics, and Usability,” “just as interface cannot – finally – be decoupled from functionality, neither can aesthetics be decoupled from interface.” This “lesson here for the digital humanities” seems to point to the critical roles design and beauty play in the production and use of DH projects. Kirschenbaum concludes his article with a glance to the future: “One of the major challenges for the digital humanities in the coming decade will therefore be designing for interfaces (and designing interfaces themselves) outside of the 13- to 21-inch comfort zone of the desktop box.” With this challenge in mind, I would like for us to consider the following questions:
1. How do we talk about design in DH?
2. How do we teach design in DH?
3. How do we do design in DH?
In addition, I’d like for us to look at a number of interfaces for DH projects to critically reflect on design as it influences how we approach and use the various projects. Participants will be invited to work in small groups to analyze interfaces and then share their conversations with the whole group. From these shared discussions, we will strive together to make visible how design and aesthetics work to direct attention, guide action, and affect emotion. The conclusions that arise will hopefully point to new opportunities and challenges related to the development, composition, and display of DH projects and scholarship.