I like how Annie Leonard’s Story of Stuff Project offers information through simple graphics. The black and white graphics in her videos do not distract the audience from her content. There are admirable qualities of this series, but I also have some points of contention.
On the Story of Stuff Project homepage I wanted to see information about the source. Who is Annie Leonard, and why should I listen to her social/political beliefs? There is an “About” page, but I think it is important to identify Annie as a voice of authority easily before she is featured in the series videos.
Aesthetically, like I stated, I like the simplicity of the graphics. I also love how icons appear below the screen as information is offered. This enhances usability, as scrollover supplies more information on specific topics. I’m not fond of how Leonard makes herself a part of the videos. I would prefer a voiceover, because I think her presence could come across as condescending. She is presenting herself as a voice of authority, and she is presenting her opinions as facts. I think she should let her opinions speak through her visuals.
I love how Leonard is promoting social awareness, and it is true that most Americans are still unaware of the reality of consumerism. I watched her segment on cosmetics, and I agree that Americans apathetic in informing themselves of daily used products. This can be said for industries other than cosmetics such as meat, dairy, clothes etc. However, I believe Leonard over simplifies the issue by pointing fingers at our government.
It is true that democracy is based on the voice of the people, and our government has become a problem with greed, apathy, etc. However, I think the biggest problem has been the apathy of the average American citizens. These changes can be made if people take on more responsibility and a smaller government evolves. I agree with Leonard when she says, “It’s easy to get angry, but it’s time we got smart.” If change is to be made, finger pointing has to stop and Americans need to take responsibility for their consumerist behavior.