Weeknote 17: Mostly about pictures. And books.

16 Aug 2019 | Communications, Websites

Why do all articles about internet security have to be illustrated with pictures of young men in hoodies? Well… they don’t. It’s about time that changed, and someone’s doing something about it.

Part of it is to do with what’s available in stock photo libraries – there isn’t much else but the clichéd hoodie picture or rows of green code.  And part of it is that it feels like an abstract concept that is hard to illustrate. But now someone is doing something about it.

OpenIDEO (an offshoot of design and innovation consultancy IDEO) has set up a Cybersecurity Visuals Challenge that asks the question: How might we reimagine a more compelling and relatable visual language for cybersecurity? There will be money for the winning designers, and new, more relevant Creative Commons images for the rest of us.

This reminds me of the Climate Visuals project set up by Oxford-based Climate Outreach a few years ago, based on the idea that we needed new images to communicate climate change. In this case, the equivalent of hoodies was polar bears. That’s resulted in a set of new images but also a set of evidence-based principles for what works and what doesn’t.

And on the subject of Climate Outreach, they’ve just announced their Climate Communication Awards. So if you’re working in this area, you’ve got until 4th October to apply.

This all underlines the truth of something else I was reading this week. This piece from Content Science Review on common content myths makes the good point that content is not just about words.

Progress on projects

I was happy this week to see one of my recent projects go live. I helped create the Oxford University IT Services website five years ago, when it was a new department, and this new project refined and simplified the site. It was part of a wider project to bring all the university’s admin departments onto the same platform, but also a good opportunity to review the content and make it easier for users to find the information they need.

In other news

A shelf of books in a bookshop, with a label reading 'Memoirs' made of Scrabble tiles.

9th August was Book Lovers Day. One of those days when Twitter is full of lovely pictures and memes, if you use the right hashtag.

I took the photo above at Mostly Books in Abingdon, one of my favourite independent bookshops.

Film director D A Pennebaker died, and in tribute the BBC showed Don’t Look Back, his documentary about Bob Dylan’s 1965 British tour. I’d forgotten how funny it is. And it’s still on iplayer.

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A shelf of books in a bookshop, with a label reading 'Memoirs' made of Scrabble tiles.

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