Coping with the big data dump: Towards a framework for enhanced information representation
Big data requires design as well. Perception of data.
“Easy and efficient access to large amounts of data has become an essential aspect of our everyday life. In this paper we investigate possibilities of supporting information representation through the combined use of multiple modalities of perceptions such as sight, touch and kinesthetics. We present a theoretical framework to analyze these approaches and exemplify our findings with case studies of three emergent projects. The results are a contribution to a larger discussion of multimodal information representation at the intersection of theory and practice.”
(Andreas Kratky, Virginia Kuhn, and Jon Olav Eikenes ~ First Monday 6.1) ★
Taxonomic considerations for node-and-link visualizations (.pdf)
The node and the link, the building blocks of connectivity.
“Data visualization models that are intended to depict considerable sets of interrelated data (including systems designed to process and render big data, particularly those that must reveal unexpected correlations) and data- supported massive-communication toolsets (such as social-network media systems) increasingly rely on presentations that depict relationships through node-and-link diagrams. The challenge of combining these kinds of quantitative and qualitative datasets can be well met with node-and-link diagramming — provided an articulate and consistent modelling method is applied to the task. This paper is a primer on what node-and-link diagrams are, and what kinds naming categories may be derived and assigned in order to make node-and-link diagrams articulate and consistent.”
(William M. Bevington ~ Parsons Journal of Information Mapping Spring 2015)
Plateaus are harder than mountains
Data is just the raw material for storytelling, understanding and insights. Design is its process to get there.
“Bold claims have been made about applying big data to solve the world’s problems, from health (Fitbit) to saving energy (Nest). Data is all around us, appearing in slick devices and colorful dashboards, yet focusing on the technology can cause us to miss the people who have to use it. Our job as designers is to communicate information. A clean design with big numbers and charts looks good, but how can we make sure people actually understand the data?”
(Stephen Turbek a.k.a. @stephenturbek ~ Boxes and Arrows)
Icons, the field of Kare.
“A user’s understanding of an icon is based on previous experience. Due to the absence of a standard usage for most icons, text labels are necessary to communicate the meaning and reduce ambiguity.”
(Aurora Bedford ~ Nielsen Norman Group)
Deciphering data through design
That’s why the byline of this stream is ‘Understanding by Design’.
“Understanding problems are common when trying to visualize data. Designing a layout to effectively communicate complex or even simple data can be a challenge. If the visualization isn’t immediately apparent to a user, it requires a level of understanding to get the most out of their experience. (…) In this podcast with Jared Spool, Stephen outlines what he calls the 7 Problems of Understanding. These range from problems of comprehension to problems of discovery and more. Each of these problems is usually brought about by a design or display decision. Looking further at these issues, simple changes can greatly increase the experience for users.”
(Stephen Anderson a.k.a. @stephenanderson ~ User Interface Engineering)
Visualizations make big data meaningful
Creating meaning, making sense and telling a story with information design.
“Being able to see a single graphic that represents a complicated thing makes people’s cognitive load a little easier.”
(Communications of the ACM, June 2014)