Summer Thesis Thoughts: Version 4 – Drowing in data viz…

June 25, 2008

A few key points from the book Guidelines for Online Success that I believe can definitely be pertinent to applications not solely focused on the web:

Audience – who is it for?

Site Function – what does it do for the audience?

Interaction – What story are we trying to tell? / What conversation are we trying to start?

– technology provides little value without a strong underlying concept

Use of Metaphor
– can bring interest to site’s navigation and direction to content and dynamic motion
– can imbue brand with values if not directly linked to product or services in question
– rich online experience with a sense of grounding
– use if it helps navigation, UX, or appropriate for brand, product, and service
– don’t stretch it too far, use mixed metaphors, don’t hide behind metaphor and let it become bigger than brand/product/service

– consider other communication tools over than language / visual expression as language / awareness in art of balancing all aspects of work
– don’t focus too much on minimalist presence – let expression come through / don’t combine too many elements at one time / take on a project you’re not fully focused on

– be consistent / anticipate users’ needs / intuitive links

TED Lecture – Paola Antonelli: Treating design as art

A few key points:

  • designers synthesize human needs, current conditions, and design so people will have a new behavior with a design
  • design uses tools at disposal to make a point, functional to understanding of ourselves
  • ultimate shelter is a sense of self
  • design considers whole world in different ranges
  • design takes everything into account / designers want us to be hands on
  • technology is making open source possible, but also idea of sustainability of human interrelationships is the idea of the work of many people – many designers working on behaviors and not objects
  • design as a direction rather than a prescription of form – design of science and visualizing different small to very big and meaningful

As the abstract of the panel reminds: data visualization is a transversal discipline which harnesses the immense power of visual communication to explain, in an understandable manner, the relationships of meaning, causes and dependency found among great abstract masses of information generated by scientific and social processes

This article brings up a very pertinent topic today, especially with the upcoming election – How can we make political news more interesting? See link below:

Ooh, a better phrase for Information Overload – social media pollution, essential how much social networking is too much?:

While this, generally, gives a grand spotlight to the world of data viz:

Golan Levin, 14 February 2006 from http://artport.whitney.org/commissions/thedumpster/

“The purpose of computing is insight, not numbers.” — Richard Hamming

The discipline of information visualization has emerged as an important hybrid of graphics, scientific communication, database engineering, and human-computer interaction. Traditionally the tool of the scientist and engineer, information visualization has increasingly become a powerful new tool for artists as well, allowing them to present, search, browse, filter, and compare rich information spaces in order to discover and reveal new narratives otherwise hidden within the dataflows of our world.

I am drawn to the revelatory potential of information visualization whether brought to bear on a single participant, the information culture we inhabit, or the formal aspects of mediated communication itself. Used as an interrogative mode of artistic practice, information visualization has the potential to offer us a new perspective on ourselves. To these ends, I find myself continually returning to the questions: what information is worth visualizing, and why?


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