These URLs Will Save the IRL

A Book About German Art Schools’ Websites

Author: wishious

You open it, squint, think for a bit, scroll up, scroll down, search for half a minute for a language change. After the third go-through-the-menubar, acceptance comes and cmd+f is used. Then you finally find the right section and it leads to a pdf with no ability to copy the text. You guessed it — if you ever tried to apply to a German art university, this was the interaction most of the time. These sites were made to surprise the viewer, and so far, they are successful. The creators use different methods to keep a user engaged, not to just utilitaristically find the information on an invisible canvas, but to go through the full-experience, feel the web in which this content is weaved.

Finding useful info on most German art schools’ websites is an interesting experience since they are not constructed according to the usual web selling patterns. What is even more interesting, although renovated German websites do not follow "selling" UX trends, they look and perform decently.

While collecting and organising a database of university websites, Nilya Musaeva began to notice specific patterns. She tried to combine and classify them within the concept of German UX design. In her research, just like in the statement of the United States Secretary of Defense, there are known unknowns and there are unknown unknowns. This means that even after the long process of developing this project, a huge mysterious field of knowledge will remain untapped.

The elaboration and classification led Musaeva into the mystical entangled net of German websites. The more she delved into this study, the more confusing her narrative became. The initially harmonious classification began to be saturated with speculations, philosophical thoughts, and the Sisyphean stone-like burden of responsibility that I could barely withstand. At some point, it became clear that this project has no beginning or end, and in this book, I would only be able to slightly lift the veil of secrecy.

As a result, this book will guide you through Germany, not using Autobahns and Schlössers but links and browser windows

These URLs will save the IRL is a result of a two-year-long speculation on the topic of German art schools’ websites  by Nilya Musaeva. The project started a hypothesis that German art schools sometimes deliberately create opaque interaction patterns to create an obstacle for potential applicants. During the research, Musaeva conducted UX tests, accessed archived versions of the websites, made design/UX analysis, comparison tables, manuscript writing, and travelling on the spot undercover to compare the website and real-life accessibility. This turned into the publication, written by Musaeva and collaboratively designed by 25 students of University of Arts Bremen and Klasse Digitale Grafik Hamburg.

These URLs Will Save the IRL

Language: English
Released in 2023
Self-published, 100 Copies
All the further info on the website.

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