deliberate decoding

Ellen Hart

This summer, I was an intern at a local startup company. The co-founders championed our exploration of every intersection of the business, from the complex steps of supply chain management to the deliverance within UI/UX design. As I delved deeper, I found myself entangled in the quest to optimize user experience—a maze of questions and revelations. What do users seek? How do I manifest that? Why do we stumble through winding paths to simply delete an account on an app?

Building a full-stack app felt like sculpting with code, shaping an experience that transcended mere functionality. I decided to enroll in a digital arts journal class the following semester, aspiring to improve my repertoire as a UX/UI designer. But within this class, I encountered a world alien to my expectations—Google Maps screenshots dissected, hyperlink art that demanded aimless personal navigation, and videos referencing the digital world I wasn’t alive to experience.

Initially, I resisted the complexity , questioning the need to laboriously convey a message. I continued to scroll on Instagram feeling the instant gratification and the array of art that didn’t require me to understand why I liked it. As time went on in the classroom, I began to understand the importance of complexity in a time when everything is often given to us on a silver platter.

My summer narrative focused on efficiency and creation but collided with the subtlety of digital art. It posed a question that lingered: what does 'better' truly mean? Is it in the transformation of the digital sphere within corporate confines or in the rebellion that defies these very structures? The dichotomy persists, leaving me with choices, seeking a path that reconciles these contrasting ideals. and the rebellious essence of digital art, often at odds with the corporate narrative.

An internship at a local startup unmasked the intricate layers of app development, from logistics to user experience. But it was within a digital arts class that my perceptions were shattered. The intricacies of digital art, a realm demanding meticulous attention and deliberate decoding, clashed with my pursuit of streamlined functionality.

The clash of ideals left me torn. The corporate world beckons with promises of impact, yet it often uses users as pawns in the game of consumerism. Conversely, I’ve been able to explore digital art that rebels against this norm, urging a deliberate pace, challenging conventional understanding, and advocating for depth over instant gratification. However, it’s important to note the range of possibilities within digital art, from its potential to offer depth and innovation to the pitfalls of succumbing to trends or gimmicks. I’m left with more questions than I came in with but I believe I am left with a spectrum of possibilities to understand from instant gratification to deliberate exploration.

copyright 2023 Ellen Hart