Just landed in Rhode Island and spending the next 2 days in Providence, long working sessions ahead, expect to some productive knowledge exchange. The topic will be around where arts meet science, design meets technology.
We talk about how information changes our life and how it affect the way we make decisions both as individual and as a team or society, I think we are still unaware of the true power of change information visualization can have and the impact when applied in an interactive and social mobile settings.
Imagine a scenario every time a politician suggests an idea and you can see real time information in simple graphics visual data to confirm his/her comment or when a company makes a statement you can see how other respond with an instant trust index? That's a very likely future, an idea which I am working on. Can't say more.
And I don’t mean just data visualization such as bar chart and 3D chart 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. Information graphics (or so called infographics) instead of visualizing data, it is 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 it helps to explain otherwise difficult to understand data, but also 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 including what their understand 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. The human minds are real time computing machines that work to constantly changing and creating value and meaning of objects; the interactions between human brain and semiotics is conducted every time we see a visual representation of a scenario and makes possible of expanding 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 arts, and will continue to power up new possibilities as we learn how to use them. I will be the first one here to call it “Infovation.” Remember you hear it here first. Will write more about it next few days.
One more thing, how many schools out there actually teaches information design? Not many. We are still training people 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 trained them enough or properly in the first place.