The growing speed with which consumers discard artifacts is a significant but regrettable part of the capitalist economy. High consumption rates are accelerated by contemporary society,
which is based on a model of values that link the notion of well being to profit generation and consumption of material goods. This exacerbated consumption cycle perpetuates environmental
damage. In this context, proposing sustainable solutions involves new ways of thinking and doing that are distant from the practices of the current model of consumer society. This paper
reflects on the necessity to implement changes into the design process, production, and consumption modalities. These changes propose a “new” role for designers as professionals, and
as individuals in society at large. This research connects the concepts of metadesign and opens design- enabling system awareness. Metadesign can be considered critical and reflexive thinking about the boundaries and scope of design, but also, as the prefix “meta” implies, it can be understood as the design of the design process, in a critical and reflective way. Open design
implies the openness of the design project for multiple actors (including consumers), information sharing, and building knowledge between them. As a result, design can lead to
consumption modalities situated in slow culture, transforming the relationship between users and artifacts.
The design of meaningful graphical objects to represent collection items must balance the following: amount of useful information that can be communicated through the object’s graphical form, meaningful graphical difference between individual items or groups of items, and restraint in form complexity to allow for the simultaneous display of numerous collection items at a small size. How the user interprets difference and sameness and, more importantly, whether the user attaches hierarchical value to the emergent categories, may play a significant role in determining whether that user focusses attention on one set of data over another, on one set of processes over another, and ultimately, on one set of tasks over another. This paper examines the significant consequences for the understanding of the user resulting from representation of data, files, and other objects in a human-computer interface (HCI), and proposes that new approaches may be indicated, given the growing complexity of what is being represented and how what is represented can be used.