Monday, February 2, 2015

"We have an infinite supply of information and yet we cannot read.”

I was born under a mountain, by the ocean, in a village of 1500 people in the north of Iceland. After studying (communication design) and working in various places in Europe (all being lovely) I set my sails to North America last summer, packed my bags and moved to Vancouver. Here, they call British Columbia “The most beautiful place on earth”. It’s pretty, don’t get me wrong — but who would ever think they’re entitled to that phrase?

I moved over here to study. After working in the advertising industry for a few years, I felt like taking on new and different challenges. Go a bit more back to a human centred approach. In my opinion, great things happen when you start using design to educate, enlighten and raise people’s interest in certain topics, rather then just to make something for the sake of making pretty things. (Even though that can be fun too).

I’ve always been fascinated by perception, the way our brains work, how we memorise and take in information—which is directly related to my even bigger interest in reading. Digital media has changed all that. We live in a time where distractions abound and never run out. The Internet has had a momentous impact, similar to Gutenberg’s printing press in the fifteenth century, and sparked an information revolution. Information is just a click away and we want as much as possible, as quickly as possible. The so called “linear mind” is now a thing of the past. Reading habits and information processing are changing, with reading skills and comprehension declining simultaneously. The problem is especially apparent with teenage boys all over the world. Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests show that reading comprehension of boys is lower than girls in all 65 countries tested.

So what’s going on? Are books not able to compete to the various interactive, instant-rewarding digital media that surrounds us? If books aren’t able to compete for attention any more, how do they need to evolve? How can we get those kids to dive back into books?

If you feel like sharing any thoughts, advice, or random Björk stories,
I would be most delighted to hear from you.


Have a glorious day!

Bergthora Jonsdottir
bergthorajons2[AT]gmail.com
Vancouver

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