The Lo-Fi Manifesto

The current issue of Kairos online journal exploring the intersections of rhetoric, technology and pedagogy, has an article by Karl Stolley – The Lo-Fi Manifestowhich I particularly enjoyed, given our penchant for fancy and flexible web tools for connectivity.

Discourse posted on the open Web can hardly be considered free if access requires costly software or particular devices. Additionally, the literacies and language we develop through engaging in digital scholarship and knowledge-making should enable us to speak confidently, unambiguously, and critically with one another……And as teachers, we should actively work to provide students with sustainable, extensible production literacies through open, rhetorically grounded digital practices that emphasize the source in “free and open source.”

Jump over to The Lo-Fi Manifesto and also checkout the substantial explanations in the drop-down panes for each element. Some of these concepts are highly relevant to our discussions about 21st century learning or the digital and design environment within which such learning takes place or is supported.

Manifesto

1. Software is a poor organizing principle for digital production.

“What program do you use?” is a question I often get about the slides I use to present my work. I have concluded that the proper answer to the question is to counter-suggest the asking of a different question, “What principle do you use?” John Maeda, The Laws of Simplicity

2. Digital literacy should reach beyond the limitations of software.

The ability to “read” a medium means you can access materials and tools created by others. The ability to “write” in a medium means you can generate materials and tools for others. You must have both to be literate. Alan Kay, “User Interface: A Personal View”

3. Discourse should not be trapped by production technologies.

In an extreme view, the world can be seen as only connections, nothing else. Tim Berners-Lee, Weaving the Web

4. Accommodate and forgive the end user, not the producer.

Don’t make me jump through hoops just because you don’t want to write a little bit of code. Steve Krug, Don’t Make Me Think, (2nd ed.)

5. If a hi-fi element is necessary, keep it dynamic and unobtrusive.

This is progressive enhancement: it works for everyone, but users with modern browsers will see a more usable version. We are, in a way, rewarding them for choosing to use a good browser, without being rude to Lynx users or employees of companies with paranoid IT departments. Tommy Olsson,Graceful Degradation & Progressive Enhancement

6. Insist on open standards and formats, and software that supports them.

Because they share a common parent and abide by the same house rules, all XML applications are compatible with each other, making it easier for developers to manipulate one set of XML data via another and to develop new XML applications as the need arises, without fear of incompatibility. Jeffrey Zeldman, Designing with Web Standards, (2nd ed.)

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