Powerful and Affordable Real Time Data Mining, Visualization and Interactions Are Enabling Infovation
by Idris Mootee
I landed in Rhode Island recently to do some long working sessions around where arts meets science, and where design meets technology.
We talked about how information changes our life and how it affects the way we make decisions both as an individual and as a team or society. I think we are still unaware of the change that information visualization can have and of its full impact when applied in interactive and social mobile settings.
Imagine a scenario where every time a politician suggests an idea, you could see realtime information in simple graphics visual data to confirm his/her comment or if you could see when a company makes a statment how others respond with an instant trust index? That’s a very likely future, an idea which I am working on. I can’t say more.
And I don’t mean just data visualization such as bar charts, 3D charts, etc. Primarily it is the study and application of the visual representation of quantitative data, meaning “information which has been abstracted in some schematic form, including attributes or variables for the units of information.”
Infodesign of infographics is actually different (it is like when I was trying to explain the difference between customer experience and user experience/usability 10 years ago) from data visualization. Instead of using information graphics (or so called infographics) to visualize data, I am talking about the strategic use of data by incorporating interactions, icons, charts, diagrams, graphs, tables and maps to present information that could bring new knowledge and sense making. Not only will it help to explain otherwise difficult to understand data, but also to illuminate and explain system complexities or system relationships in an easy to digest manner.
This is not new, in our human history our ancestors created cave murals and giant paintings to show us what was happening – to help people understand their view of the the world, an event, or even the universe. The power of infodesign lies in its effectiveness in simplifying complex data into understandable visual representations that can be universally interpreted.
The power of real time interactions with live data brings the potential to a whole new level. Human minds are real time computing machines that works to constantly changing and creating value and meaning of objects; the interactions between the human brain and semiotics is conducted every time we see a visual representation of a scenario and makes possible the expanding of our human cognition to absorb large amounts of data at just one single glance or click.
Here comes the most interesting part, infodesign is powering up an infoculture where massive real-time socially digitally distributed (useful and useless) information is enabling a new form of cultural act. It is where science meets art, and it will continue to power up new possibilities as we learn how to use it. I will be the first one here to call it Infovation. Remember you heard it here first. I will write more about it in the coming weeks.
One more thing, how many schools out there actually teach information design? Not many. We are still training people with yesterday’s skills for yesterday’s job. No wonder it is hard for designers to find work. I think design schools should be paying for the continuous education of their graduates, because they never train them enough or properly in the first place.
Idris Mootee is the CEO of idea couture, a strategic innovation and experience design firm. He is the author of four books, tens of published articles, and a frequent speaker at business conferences and executive retreats.