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April 19, 2008

Creative accessibility

Creative accessibility: "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." [A.J.Liebling] Twenty years ago desktop publishing reduced the cost to tens of thousands of dollars. A decade later web publishing helped more people publish and distribute text and images, costing only a computer, its software, and a connection. Now, rich-media RIAs let anyone edit images, video, audio and presentations, without any investment in software at all. Third world or first, urban or rural, egghead or not, it doesn't matter anymore -- if you've got a computer and a connection, you can create and publish your story to the world. At PBS, Jennifer Woodard Maderazo surveys the range of accessible creative tools today, and compares it to the costs of the recent past. The professional toolsets are blazing even newer territory (time-based imaging is about to get real scary, eg), but the increasing accessibility of the tools of creation means that Liebling's guarantee is becoming less and less a restriction every day....

Action items:

  • We've got to get this functionality to cheaper mobile devices, because most people will never own a computer. The Flash Lite runtime is getting there, across the more affluent sections, and the AIR runtime will eventually provide a solid baseline of functionality. Right now, though, digital creation still requires a computer, a connection, and usually some level of English skills.
  • We've got to figure out ways to beat Sturgeon's Law and filter out the bad talk from the good. If you're trying to learn something, how can you pull that information from the efforts of people to sell you something, or the casual rants of the popular? We've got to reduce the reading costs, make it easier to find the desired info, while still surprising with the unknown-yet-useful. Filtering will probably be a harder problem than creation.

Posted by JohnDowdell at April 19, 2008 9:36 AM