Why web design?

March 13th, 2011

In the past couple of months I’ve blogged about how to delve into web design and the significance of why. Now I’m going to marry the two and ask myself, why on earth web design?

Of course, it’s not just web design, it’s games and apps and whatever else the future holds but ultimately it’s a niche area of life. Perhaps because of this I repeatedly find myself asking, why am I pursuing a career in interactive design? The world seems in dire need of help (impending waves of extinction; scarcity of food, water, minerals; climate change; etc.) and I’m here sat at my computer, most of the time not experiencing this real world first-hand and it’s really starting to frustrate me.

I love what I do and don’t want to quit it any time soon but at the same time I feel an obligation to work in conservation efforts and need to find a way to either prioritise one over the other or unify the two; otherwise I don’t think I’ll be able to say I’ve lived a fulfilled life. A common response I get to this is ‘why not help make websites for charities like WWF?’ but this doesn’t sound like a fulfilling role to me, not direct enough and too far on the marketing side.

I feel one of the ways to possibly contribute would be to develop open-source web apps that help scientists and conservationists with their jobs, initially I thought my Final Year Project could be a comprehensive, wiki-style database of every species we’ve discovered after hearing that such a database does not yet exist, however a simple search proved otherwise.

The current work Google is doing with their Crisis Response project is inspiring and not unique, services like this seem to be becoming the norm when the connected world is faced with trouble—a very decent use for the web in my eyes. This shows the potential for the web to do more than ‘raise awareness’ stand-alone sites in this sphere and it is down this route that I wish to pursue, it’s just a matter of figuring out what service and communication is needed and coupling it with where the actions are needed.

There is a world, there is what we do and there is undoubtedly a way for the two to mix.

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Julia said:
Surely the fact it already exists (the database) makes life so much easier! You’ve got all the data, just need to remodel the page. I still think it’d be a good idea :)