Data. It’s the word on everyone’s lips and… err fingertips. Yes, we all dream about getting our hands dirty with data nowadays. I’ve read a number of excellent blog posts and seen some killer presentations on the subject over the past few days and I thought I’d share. Because sharing is *good*.
The Battle Between Art & The Algorithm (by my brother Ben at BBH Labs). In this post Ben provocatively suggests that the rise and rise of algorithmically powered recommendation is robbing us of serendipity: “We’re talking about the end of surprise.” Having taken us to the edge of despair he then highlights some examples of things working pretty well (AKQA’s Halo 3 work, anything by Jonathan Harris – especially We Feel Fine.) What a tease.
This presentation is full of great stuff, visual treats and strong thinking. Matt connects Seduction – perhaps the magic that Ben is talking about in his post – with data visualisation. This came at just the right time for me as I was reading:
The Art and Science of Seductive Interactions by Stephen P Anderson. This presentation affected me than anything else I’ve seen online for a VERY LONG TIME. It made me realise the poisonous legacy of Jakob Nielsen was still inside me. It crystallised a thought that had been forming since we started MxM up inside an ad agency 19 months ago, about something we’ve been learning from them – namely, the need for the things we make not merely to be rationally efficient in a strict usability sense, but to move the end user, to delight, to quicken the pulse. Once again, this is the magic Ben talks about.
I found another great deck at Michal Migurski’s blog. Mike is a technical architect at Stamen Design – the group that did the Digg Labs data visualisations, and the Flickr Mappr tool, and the Adobe Kuler stuff, and the MySociety Travel Maps for Commuters… yeah, you get the idea. They’re good.
Slideshare was having a bad day when Mike wrote his post – so if you click the image above you’ll link through to his site where you can download the PDF. I totally recommend this – it’s packed with beautiful and stimulating stuff. I particularly enjoyed:
Live Vast and Deep
The iron triangle of information visualization
“Live”: our favorite projects demonstrate data that is, ideally, being generated as you watch it.
“Vast”: data can cover an enormous surface area, think Google Maps
“Deep”: data is dense, interlinked
That’s it for now. Please send us details of any other sources of inspiration. As Bud Cadell said in a comment earlier:
Data visualization designers will be the new rockstars in 2010.
I think that’s absolutely true. And I think I might be a groupie.