THIS IS THE INTRODUCTORY VIDEO TO THE HUMAN SYSTEM, WHICH PLAYS AS YOU ENTER THE WEBSITE, AND EXPLAINS THE CONCEPTS AROUND THIS PROJECT LOOSELY. IT MAKES USE OF THE DEFINED AESTHETIC USED IN THIS PROJECT, AND WAS MADE USING ADOBE AFTER EFFECTS.
The Human System is my final project from the BA Design program at Goldsmiths' University. It is an exploration into the aesthetics of glitches and technology, and a resource for the disabled and chronically ill communities. The disabled and chronically ill communities were those most effected by the recent pandemic, and this project was an attempt to alleviate the loneliness these communities experienced by creating an online community.
The website, www.thehumansystem.online, is a multifaceted online resource and forum. It is a place for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses to come together, express their concerns, advocate for themselves, discuss their issues with those like them, and create an online community.
The Human System makes use of the concept of glitches, creating and utilizing a defined aesthetic, inspired by technology, and more specifically, the computer errors and malfunctions commonly associated with glitches. I coded The Human System myself, almost entirely from scratch, and it is my first foray into both coding and web design.
The Human System's aesthetic is heavily inspired by the technology the late 70's and early 80's, specifically, computer terminals like the VT320, and CRT screens. For this project, I was viewing disability and chronic illness as "glitches" (note: glitches are not used in a derogatory way here, more that they are windows of opportunity to recognise flaws in the world around us, and make changes for the better. Glitches can me both macro and micro, and inhabit all systems that make up our society.) Because of this ideology, I wanted to make us of an aesthetic that fit. I wanted to use this retro look, as this is the way technology looked at the advent of the term "glitch", which at the time was being used in a technological way.
The website's main splash page is divided into three branches, with the first linking to my dissertation, to give more context to this project, the second taking the user to a game with multiple endings, known as GLITCH.EXE, and the third leading to the resource section, which is where the forum aspects of the website are.
My dissertation, the first branch of The Human System, was where I first explored the deeper intricacies and meanings of "The Glitch". I studied the ways in which systems are subverted and changed, and found that windows of opportunity existed in all systems, revealing their true natures. These are glitches. This is also where I first argued that disability and chronic illness can be seen as a glitch, the premise for this project. The existence of disability and chronic illness allows us to see how the systems that make up our world, both physical and legislative, are not designed for people with chronic illnesses and disabilities.
This is also where I first perfected the glitch aesthetic that defines this project.
The second branch of The Human System is a game, known as GLITCH.EXE. The game is a text based game with multiple pathways and endings, with each ending directing the user to a different part of The Human System It is inspired by the Choose Your Own Adventure video games that ran on the retro computer terminals that The Human System's aesthetic is inspired by. GLITCH.EXE serves to familiarise users with the concepts and definitions that The Human System uses in an interactive way, as well as give The Human System a voice, and make it feel alive.
The final branch of the Human System is the resource section. This is where I created my own homegrown form of social media. This is where people with disabilities and chronic illnesses come together to form an online community. The Resource Section is divided into four pages. Firstly, the Front-page. This is where top posts of the day go, and are rotated out daily. Second is the Archive page. This is where all posts are stored, and categorised by date posted. Third, The Activism page. Here, users will find links to various petitions, as news articles, and pieces of activism media surrounding disability and chronic illness. The last page is the submissions page. Here, users can submit information, stories, rants, or start conversations.
As this is arguably the most important part of The Human System I toned down the glitch effects that the rest of the website has. I made the lines clearer, as well as the fonts. After getting some feedback from potential users, it was clear that this still was not enough. So I implemented a Color Sensitivity button, which turns the whole website to greyscale, making the website much more user friendly at the cost of the design aesthetic.