Letting data speak
PBS Off Book published this fantastic video introduction to data visualization. As I feel I’m always surrounded by either designers who don’t particularly take an interest in data visualization or computer scientists who are more concerned with processing data with their code, I am glad to see that there are others who are as enthusiastic as me about (and understand) the complexity and beauty of the data visualization process.
For me, one of the most elegant aspects (and one of the hardest challenges) of data visualization is letting the data speak for itself—epecially large amounts of data—and it’s something that makes a visualization more compelling.
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On print and physical experiences
Today, we consume information digitally. From newspapers and magazines, to DIY instructions from one neighbor to the next, to updates about your best friend. Technology like Kindles and retina display iPads arguably makes reading books digitally just as enjoyable as reading physically. So then, as devices replace our bookshelves, is print heading towards obsolescence?
Read my opinion →
This is the day and age where no one will neglect design, where our most basic functionality needs are often easily satified and the decision between choices lies with the better designed. Because no one neglects design, we’ve also progressed—every pixel is beautiful, every interaction seamless and delightful—on everything.
There are tens of scrumptious little list apps in the iOS App Store, but most of them don’t even make it to the download-and-try stage for me. Yet if I judged by both their list-making functionality and their appearance and interaction experience, none would lose. So what’s the problem? They fail to sync.
Read about the three parts of syncing →
Reading an excerpt of Discourse Analysis by Barbara Johnstone in my writing course made me connect writing to design in a way that I hadn’t thought about before.
Johnstone’s argument was essentially that “a person whose discourse was completely creative—completely unlike anything previously tried—would, after all, be impossible to understand.” Using thank-you notes as an example, she showed that these thank-you notes from a person at different ages changed as his command of language grew, but that they consistently followed a specific structure (a convention), making them easily recognizable as thank-you notes.
How does this apply to design? →
Registration forms are unnecessary obstacles
There’s a better way to introduce new users to your service or application than imposing account creation on them before they can get to the main features.
Think about it this way. The average user who comes to try your service will probably not spend more than a few minutes. When you get them hooked, they might spend a little more time. But if there were a registration process, even one that takes a minute (and often times account creation comes with email confirmations, requiring yet more time) or even one that takes just 30 seconds, it could well have taken away about one-fifth of the time new users would’ve spent in understanding your product—the time you could’ve spent getting them to like your product.
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The illogic of the American date format
It was one of those few classes where I actually paid attention and took notes (during the rest I just doodle or stare off in space). I took out my notebook and began taking down some important dates on the powerpoint. But the problem was, the dates were not all uniform.
Find out what happened →