Information Design Watch
June 17, 2004, 3:54 pm
The Pew Internet and American Life Project has redesigned its Web site, making it easier to browse its survey results, charts and tables. A good starting point is the site’s “Reports” page which presents an interesting cross-section of research on Internet demographics, online activies, technology, and other topics.
June 17, 2004, 3:48 pm
Here is a fascinating example of data visualization, a simple animated figure based on data captured from 40 male and 40 female subjects walking on a treadmill. Interactive sliders allow you to adjust the motion of the figure to correspond to sex, weight, and psychological state.
“Sex and weight of each walker were directly available from our records. The other two attributes were derived from psychophysical experiments. A number of observers were presented with point-light displays of the 80 walkers. For each of them they had to rate the attributes nervous/relaxed and happy/sad on a scale of 7 steps.”
June 17, 2004, 9:53 am
Web site information architecture methodologies are generally focused on usability — on how users can best find the information they seek. A related issue of significant importance to businesses and content creators is how users determine the credibility of the information they find.
A landmark study in this field is Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab’s 2002 report for ConsumerWebWatch, How Do People Evaluate a Web Site’s Credibility? Results from a Large Study. This report points out many parallels between Web usability and Web credibility, with an unexpectedly strong plug for visual design:
“the average consumer paid far more attention to the superficial aspects of a site, such as visual cues, than to its content. For example, nearly half of all consumers (or 46.1%) in the study assessed the credibility of sites based in part on the appeal of the overall visual design of a site, including layout, typography, font size and color schemes.”
What was the next most important factor? Information Design and Structure. The authors suggest:
“One might speculate that by providing a clear information structure, a Web design team demonstrates expertise to the users. Users may then assume this expertise extends to the quality of information on the site.”