Summary of the article titled ‘What a funny looking video’

Using allegorical representations of technological change to reflect on future digital communication and design challenges

This paper presents a reflective examination of challenges to design and communication from the current digital revolution, using the prism of a 1980s television advertisement for the Yellow Pages.
Originating at the same time as the height of the desktop publishing revolution, the advert illuminates a transitional period in the evolution of digital technology and media communications, marked by changing user practices and experiences. The advert’s storyline follows a young man’s quest to convert an old cine film (of his father) to videotape for his mother’s birthday, in the process showcasing the impending shift from analogue to digital technologies and encapsulating the multifaceted implications and transitional challenges of the period. The hybrid setting of technologies, alongside the tensions, confusion and ambiguities of different stakeholders metaphorically symbolises and can be contrasted alongside, the challenges impacting the design, media and communications industry of the period and can inform reflection on contemporary challenges. Engaging with the narrative, the Yellow Pages advert is used as a creative device which functions as a cultural, historical, narrative lens with which to contrast against contemporary (and future) transitional challenges within the digital revolution.