John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
“These fragments I have shored against my ruins”:
Modernism,
Post-Modernism,
and Respo...
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
About Me
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
About Me
• 1998: PhD in American
Literature
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
About Me
• 1998: PhD in American
Literature
• Diss: “Confronting
Modernity: Urbanizati...
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
About Me
• 1998: PhD in American
Literature
• Diss: “Confronting
Modernity: Urbanizati...
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
About Me
• 1998: PhD in American
Literature
• Diss: “Confronting
Modernity: Urbanizati...
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
About Me
• 1998: PhD in American
Literature
• Diss: “Confronting
Modernity: Urbanizati...
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
“Now is the time for the medium of the web to outgrow its
origins in the printed page....
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
What happened in
between these two
publications?
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
“Creating Killer Web Sites was
the first true design book for
the Web. It became the be...
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
Why do we so resist the
digital nature of the web?
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
Walter Benjamin
!
!
!
!
!
!
“The Work of Art in the Age of
Mechanical Reproduction
(Re...
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
What is the work of
design, in the age of
digital reproduction?
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
Prologue
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
The White City
Chicago World’s Fair 1893
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
The White City
Chicago World’s Fair 1893
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
The White City
Chicago World’s Fair 1893
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
The White City
Chicago World’s Fair 1893
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
- Daniel Burnham, Master of Works for the Chicago World’s Fair
“Make no Little Plans ....
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
Modernism
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
Modernism
“All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with
their train of ancient and venerable
...
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
Modernism
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer...
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
- T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land 1922
I sat upon the shore
Fishing, with the arid plain b...
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
Modernism
“To be modern is to find ourselves
in an environment that promises
us adventu...
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
Post-Modernism
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
Tryin’ to keep it real (compared to what)
1969: Gene McDaniels
composition, recorded b...
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
Mo vs Po-mo
• Things Fall Apart / All that is
solid melts into air
• Mourning lost aut...
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
Responsive Web Design
is more than a set of
techniques: it is a push,
to force us out ...
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
Responsive Web Design
• RWD can’t just mean
producing three comps where
we used to do ...
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
Stop controlling, start designing
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
Stop controlling, start designing
• Design from content out
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
Stop controlling, start designing
• Design from content out
• Design for fluidity & dev...
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
Stop controlling, start designing
• Design from content out
• Design for fluidity & dev...
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
Stop controlling, start designing
• Design from content out
• Design for fluidity & dev...
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
Epilogue: Control is an
Expensive and Dangerous
Illusion
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
The White City
• Henry Howard Holmes,
“America’s first serial killer,”
designed and bui...
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
The White City
• Henry Howard Holmes,
“America’s first serial killer,”
designed and bui...
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
Questions?
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"These Fragments I Have Shored Against My Ruins": Modernism, Post-Modernism, and Responsive Web Design

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Why do we keep trying to make the web back into print?

This talk mines the philosophical shift from Modernism to Post-Modernism, with stops along the way at the Chicago World's Fair of 1893, for clues to understanding the digital sands shifting under our own feet

Published in: Technology

"These Fragments I Have Shored Against My Ruins": Modernism, Post-Modernism, and Responsive Web Design

  1. 1. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 “These fragments I have shored against my ruins”: Modernism, Post-Modernism, and Responsive Web Design
  2. 2. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 About Me
  3. 3. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 About Me • 1998: PhD in American Literature
  4. 4. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 About Me • 1998: PhD in American Literature • Diss: “Confronting Modernity: Urbanization and American Literature 1880-1930”
  5. 5. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 About Me • 1998: PhD in American Literature • Diss: “Confronting Modernity: Urbanization and American Literature 1880-1930” • 1999-Present: Web developer, CMS consultant, UX director, Project Manager, Agency Director
  6. 6. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 About Me • 1998: PhD in American Literature • Diss: “Confronting Modernity: Urbanization and American Literature 1880-1930” • 1999-Present: Web developer, CMS consultant, UX director, Project Manager, Agency Director • Current: CEO at 10up
  7. 7. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 About Me • 1998: PhD in American Literature • Diss: “Confronting Modernity: Urbanization and American Literature 1880-1930” • 1999-Present: Web developer, CMS consultant, UX director, Project Manager, Agency Director • Current: CEO at 10up • (Yes, we are hiring)
  8. 8. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 “Now is the time for the medium of the web to outgrow its origins in the printed page. . . . It is the nature of the web to be flexible, and it should be our role as designers and developers to embrace this flexibility . . . The journey begins by letting go of control, and becoming flexible.”
  9. 9. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
  10. 10. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
  11. 11. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 What happened in between these two publications?
  12. 12. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 “Creating Killer Web Sites was the first true design book for the Web. It became the best- selling book on the Internet in 1996 and has been translated into ten languages. It has taught an entire generation of site designers how to get control over their pages”
  13. 13. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
  14. 14. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
  15. 15. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 Why do we so resist the digital nature of the web?
  16. 16. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 Walter Benjamin ! ! ! ! ! ! “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (Reproducibility)” 1936 “that which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art . . . the technique of reproduction detaches the reproduced object from the domain of tradition”
  17. 17. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 What is the work of design, in the age of digital reproduction?
  18. 18. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 Prologue
  19. 19. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 The White City Chicago World’s Fair 1893
  20. 20. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 The White City Chicago World’s Fair 1893
  21. 21. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 The White City Chicago World’s Fair 1893
  22. 22. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 The White City Chicago World’s Fair 1893
  23. 23. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 - Daniel Burnham, Master of Works for the Chicago World’s Fair “Make no Little Plans . . . Make big plans . . . remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die . . . Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty”
  24. 24. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 Modernism
  25. 25. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 Modernism “All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind” Marx & Engels, Communist Manifesto (1848)
  26. 26. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 Modernism Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, . . . The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. . . . And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? - Yeats, “The Second Coming” 1919
  27. 27. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 - T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land 1922 I sat upon the shore Fishing, with the arid plain behind me Shall I at least set my lands in order? London Bridge is falling down falling down falling down Poi s'ascose nel foco che gli affina Quando fiam ceu chelidon - O swallow swallow Le Prince d'Aquitaine a la tour abolie These fragments I have shored against my ruins Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo's mad againe. Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata. Shantih shantih shantih
  28. 28. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 Modernism “To be modern is to find ourselves in an environment that promises us adventure, power, joy, growth, transformation of ourselves and the world - and at the same time that threatens to destroy everything we have, everything we know, everything we are.” Marshall Berman, All That Is Solid Melts Into Air (1982)
  29. 29. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 Post-Modernism
  30. 30. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
  31. 31. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
  32. 32. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
  33. 33. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 Tryin’ to keep it real (compared to what) 1969: Gene McDaniels composition, recorded by Les McCann & Eddie Harris, protests Nixon and the war in Vietnam. ! ! 2003: “Real Compared to What” stars Mya and Common selling Coca Cola, “The Real Thing”
  34. 34. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 Mo vs Po-mo • Things Fall Apart / All that is solid melts into air • Mourning lost authenticity • If only we could reassert a master narrative • Clear distinction between “high” and “low” culture • Aesthetic formalism • It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine • Authenticity is a lie, a trap • Distrust of master narratives • Blurring of lines between “high” and “low” / “art” and “commerce” • Pastiche, collage, parody, irony, self-referentiality, simulacra
  35. 35. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
  36. 36. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 Responsive Web Design is more than a set of techniques: it is a push, to force us out of the collective hallucination of fixed-web design
  37. 37. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 Responsive Web Design • RWD can’t just mean producing three comps where we used to do one (mobile, tablet, desktop) • We need to balance the clients’ desire for control with a realistic sense of device proliferation and the appropriate ebb and flow • Stop trying to make the web back into a new print
  38. 38. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
  39. 39. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
  40. 40. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 Stop controlling, start designing
  41. 41. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 Stop controlling, start designing • Design from content out
  42. 42. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 Stop controlling, start designing • Design from content out • Design for fluidity & device independence - grid systems, percentages, responsive typography and imagery
  43. 43. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 Stop controlling, start designing • Design from content out • Design for fluidity & device independence - grid systems, percentages, responsive typography and imagery • Move to real interactions (html,css,js) as early as possible / practical (but not before that)
  44. 44. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 Stop controlling, start designing • Design from content out • Design for fluidity & device independence - grid systems, percentages, responsive typography and imagery • Move to real interactions (html,css,js) as early as possible / practical (but not before that) • Semantic markup and progressive enhancement FTW!
  45. 45. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 Epilogue: Control is an Expensive and Dangerous Illusion
  46. 46. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
  47. 47. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
  48. 48. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 The White City • Henry Howard Holmes, “America’s first serial killer,” designed and built a hotel to prey upon primarily young women who came to visit or work at the fair • See Erik Larsen, The Devil in the White City, 2003
  49. 49. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 The White City • Henry Howard Holmes, “America’s first serial killer,” designed and built a hotel to prey upon primarily young women who came to visit or work at the fair • See Erik Larsen, The Devil in the White City, 2003
  50. 50. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014
  51. 51. John Eckman | @jeckman | #wcnyc2014 Questions?

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