Information Design Watch
March 9, 2004, 9:26 am
Looking back, it’s interesting to contrast Clare Hart’s comments described here with an article in the April 1, 2000 issue of CIO Magazine. “Call to Action” describes the importance of “actionable” information, information “distilled to its essence and organized so that it gets its meaning across effortlessly.”
“But the truth is, companies are painfully short of actionable information, and their CIOs are not using information design practices to create it. In spite of the fact that IT leaders rate actionable information important for decision making –4.8 out of 5, on average — most are not on a track to get there.
While Hart focuses on technologies for visualizing data, “Call to Action” emphasizes the role of information designers. These two viewpoints reinforce each other. Tools for mining data simply gives information designers more opportunities to prioritize, condense, and illuminate.
March 9, 2004, 9:21 am
Can a business model based on an algorithm succeed? As Yahoo ends its partnership with Google (see http://news.com.com/2100-1024_3-5160710.html ), the popular search engine faces aggressive new competition:
“‘When Google first launched, they had some new tricks that nobody else had thought about before,’ says Doug Cutting, an independent software consultant…. But plenty of other search engines now offer intriguing alternatives to Googleâ€™s techniques…. “For example, thereâ€™s Teoma, which ranks results according to their standing among recognized authorities on a topic, and Australian startup Mooter, which studies the behavior of users to better intuit exactly what theyâ€™re looking for. And then thereâ€™s the gorilla from Redmond: Microsoft is turning to search as one of its next big business opportunities.”
http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/roush0304.asp?p=0 (free registration required)
March 9, 2004, 9:19 am
Released in 2003, the New America Foundation’s “Citizen’s Guide to the Airwaves” includes a 52-page Explanation Report and two-sided, 11″ x 38″ color poster. The poster’s front side is a visual “map” of the radio frequency spectrum; the back provides a nine-panel overview of the policy debate about its use.
Using a chart of radio frequencies as its organizing principle, the map displays the market value of different slices of the spectrum, the devices that use them and the physics of radio waves that determine that use. The result is a highly informative example of the use of visual explanation to make a public policy case.
March 9, 2004, 9:18 am
Information Today, Inc., has compiled a list of 2004 predictions from 11 captains of the information industry. The responses focus largely on technology and business issues, but there are some interesting remarks on information design practice, in particular, those of Clare Hart, President and CEO of Factiva:
“Text analytics and visualization technologies will further enrich the user experience in the decision-making process. Such technologies rapidly recognize associations among textual elements and can then present them graphically. This ability will permit executives to identify trends at the early stages of development or display material relationships that might signal customer, partner, or supplier activity. Acting quickly upon information will reduce risk and benefit the organization. Without these technologies, this information might otherwise be buried in a mountain of information that would be impossible to navigate.”