The Aalto School of Arts, Design and Architecture is the largest school in its field in the Nordic countries and one of the most respected in the world for its innovative approach in visual communication and design, where new forms of communication like digital storytelling, experiences, and authorship are taking more and more relevance. Students are encouraged to discover and use authoring tools as a way to express themselves and to relate to the new media in a innovative and fresh perspective. Harri Heikkilä is the person responsible for digital media, and he is currently holding the “Publishing for Emerging Platforms” seminar.
What is your role and what is your main focus at the Aalto university?
Harri Heikkilä: I work as a researcher and lecturer at the Department of Media at Aalto University School of Art Design and Architecture. I have been focusing on publishing on new platforms, namely touch screen devices. I run the HapLab (-> http://mediafactory.aalto.fi/haplab/), a research and company cooperation initiative for developing better interfaces for touch screen apps. I have just concluded a research project on future of textbooks.
Where do you see digital publishing evolving in the next couple of years? What role will authoring tools play in this evolution?
HH: I wish that there will be a new technology that carries the cool tradition of electronic ink to a new level, but I am not going to bet on it. Generally, I believe that there is a paradigm change in works. It seems to be that the direction will be away from printed matter and old ”home page” -style web pages towards something like netbooks or net magazines, which favors high quality typography, perhaps horizontal navigation and definetly new kind of visual narrative.
Why did you decide to include the teaching of PubCoder in your latest course?
HH: One word: Media convergence. In multiplatform and multichannel environment we need one tool which can cater them all. A tool with a steep learning curve. A design orientated tool that makes facilitates digital storytelling, experimenting with interactive non linear storytelling, enabling graphic designers to create and publish apps is really something that we need.
You are still in the middle of the course, what has been students’ feedback until now?
HH: They wonder why Adobe has not made this.