Data & Information Design

Data & Information Design

Information DesignI’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to find Giorgi Lupi. Fortunately, serendipity came to my aid and I stumbled across her almost by accident. And what a find! Anyone who does anything with data and information should read her postings, starting with this one:…

I’ve picked out a few nuggets:

Embrace complexity. What made cheap marketing infographics so popular is probably their biggest contradiction: the false claim that a couple of pictograms and a few big numbers have the innate power to “simplify complexity.”

One size does not fit all. Business intelligence tools and dataviz tools for marketers have led many to believe that the ideal way to make sense of information is to load data into a tool, pick from among a list of suggested out-of-the-box charts, and get the job done in a couple of clicks. This common approach is actually nothing more than blindly throwing technology at the problem, sometimes without spending enough time framing the question that triggered the exploration in the first place. This often leads to results that are not only practically useless, but also deeply wrong, because prepackaged solutions are rarely able to frame problems that are difficult to define, let alone solve.

Sketching with data?…in a way, removing technology from the equation before bringing it back to finalize the design with digital tools ?introduces novel ways of thinking, and leads to designs that are uniquely customized for the specific type of data problems we are working with.

What a refreshing perspective on data and information design. It’s a fairly long article – about a 10-minute read, but well worth it, in fact worth reading at least twice because there’s so many insightful ideas here. If there’s an underlying message here, it’s that that we should devote the time to enhancing our human knowledge and skills for understanding complexity, and not relying on technology to do it all for us.

2 thoughts on “Data & Information Design

  1. Very interesting Steve.
    I have an idea for the Autumn KIN workshop that suggests the old ‘pyramid’ of data>information>knowledge>insight>decision is outdated. With AI and smart visualisations augmenting the process it’s moving towards data>insight>decision making. Lots to discuss here!

  2. Yes, I like that. Would be an interesting discussion, e.g. do IMs/KM’s, CIOs etc. recognise or accept that ‘knowledge’ is being gradually replaced by augmented decision making? And what are the the implications of putting too much trust in algorithms?

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