To what extent can information be successfully communicated through a media façade and what are the relevant parameters? In this paper, we focus on the issue of information design for media façades, which is not often discussed separately. As a thought experiment, we propose homing in on this topic as a core domain for the deployment of low-resolution, ambient displays in the city. We discuss the advantages and limitations of five techniques for encoding information: color, movement, text, images, and shape. Though designers may not always be aiming to convey explicit information, onlookers may still seek additional layers of meaning and end-users may re-appropriate an infrastructure over time. Two examples from our recent practice, a series of single-pixel way- finding beacons and a low-resolution media façade, serve to illustrate these techniques. By linking the broad notions of ‘content’ and ‘meaning’ to a set of purpose-driven and actionable parameters, we invite designers to scrutinize the low-level communication processes facilitated by media architecture.
Offenhuber, Dietmar, and Susanne Seitinger. 2014. “Over the Rainbow – Information Design for Low-Resolution Urban Displays.” In Proceedings of the Media Architecture Biennale 2014, Aarhus, DK: ACM.