Information Design Watch

October 31, 2008, 10:51 am

Dynamic Diagrams Poster Part of Award-Winning Conference Presentation

By Mac McBurney


Congratulations to Colette Hannan on winning the Young Scientist Award for best poster presentation at the 17th International Conference of Racing Analysts and Veterinarians. Colette won the award for her presentation, “Controlling therapeutic substances – a European harmonised approach: Determination of the detection time for lidocaine following an administration to horses.”

Dynamic Diagrams designed posters for five research studies conducted by BHP Labs in Limerick, Ireland, where Colette works as a chemist. The studies tracked how long drugs like lidocaine and morphine remain — or remain detectable — in race horses. These drugs are legitimate veterinary medications, but they’re a big no-no if your horse tests positive on race day.

The posters present research data and findings to a scientific audience, so we retained the organizing principles of a scientific poster or paper (methods, results, conclusions). In the central graphs, a circular blow-up shows the data of greatest interest. A timeline down the center shows when blood and urine samples were collected from the horses.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon

Comments (0) | Filed under: Dynamic Diagrams News, Illustration, Information Design, Scholarly Publishing

October 29, 2008, 11:58 am

Improving Mobile Search

By Lisa Agustin

First, a confession:  I love my iPhone.  But using the touchscreen keyboard leaves me (and others as well) feeling annoyed and just a bit uncoordinated.  And when it comes to searching?  Not fun.  Why is mobile searching so hard?  The problem, in part, is a misconception that PDAs and phones are just small laptops.  Luckily, this mindset is changing.  Mobile technology companies are increasingly aware that technology by itself won’t fix the problem; the key will be using these solutions (voice-recognition,  leveraging of built-in cameras and, eventually, the semantic web)  to create intuitive user experiences.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon

Comments (0) | Filed under: Technology, User Experience

October 27, 2008, 11:54 am

Dynamic Diagrams Relaunches Web Site

By Henry Woodbury

We have redesigned our company web site: www.dynamicdiagrams.com.

Our core skills remain the same: information architecture, visual explanation, interface design, usability consulting, and web development. With the site redesign, we focus more strongly on how these disciplines benefit our clients.

Sell with substance shows how a structured approach to information coupled with innovative design can refresh sales tools, bring clarity to corporate communications, and help business and organizations sell complex products and services to a skeptical world.

Explain with clarity shows how visual explanation helps organizations conceptualize big-picture strategies, visualize project plans, and illuminate complex initiatives. The result is better executive decision-making, faster buy-in by stakeholders and customers, and improved project planning.

Create with confidence shows how our information architecture, interface design, and development know-how generates better outcomes for web and interactive design projects, whether a full-fledged concept-to-launch initiative, or user-centered improvements to an existing site or product.

Our About d/D section describes who we are, including a new look at our approach and team.

Please use the comments to tell us what you like, what you would change, and if there is any information you would like us to add to the site.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon

Comments (0) | Filed under: Dynamic Diagrams News

October 23, 2008, 10:01 am

Don’t Eat the iPod Shuffle—Seven Years of iPod Design

By Kirsten Robinson

Wired has published a look back at iPod design, starting with this paper and foam core prototype from 2001:

one of the original iPod concepts

Check out the article to find out how the scroll wheel evolved over time, when color was first introduced (on the body and the screen), and where the title of this post came from.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon

Comments (0) | Filed under: Branding, Business, Color, Design, Prototyping, Technology, Usability

October 22, 2008, 2:47 pm

Manga Sommelier

By Henry Woodbury

Comics are everywhere. From The New York Times Food and Wine section comes this story of a serendipitous intersection of comic talent and love of wine. Four years ago Yubo and Shin Kibayashi created their series “The Drops of the Gods” centered on a young hero named Shizuku Kanzaki:

At the start of the series, Shizuku has rebelled against his father, a famous wine critic, by refusing to drink wine and working instead for a brewery. Suddenly, though, his father dies and leaves in his will a description of 12 wines he considers the world’s best, comparing them to the disciples of Jesus.

Pitted against his adopted brother, who happens to be a sommelier, Shizuku must catch up in his knowledge so he can find the 12 wines mentioned in his father’s will and inherit his father’s vast cellar.

Now the comic has spread beyond Japan to other East Asian countries slowly opening up to alcohol imports:

At Addiction Plus, a trendy Italian restaurant in central Seoul, men in their late 20s to early 40s often ask about wines featured in the comic, said the owner, Kim Chin-ui, 38.

“They won’t mention that they’ve read the comic, though it’s pretty obvious,” Mr. Kim said. “They try to insert terms like ‘terroir’ or ‘marriage’ to show off — normally, to their colleagues or dates.”

“But I don’t think the women are impressed,” Mr. Kim added. “I can tell from their faces. I mean, the women know where the terms are coming from, because they’ve read the same comic.”

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon

Comments (0) | Filed under: Art, Books and Articles, Comics, Illustration

October 20, 2008, 9:20 am

Celebrate National Design Week

By Lisa Agustin

This week is National Design Week at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.  Cast your vote for the People’s Design Award and, if you happen to be in New York City, enjoy free admission to the museum all week.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon

Comments (0) | Filed under: Current Events, Design

October 16, 2008, 11:08 am

The Cortical Homonculus

By Henry Woodbury

I recently came across two classic examples of visual explanation: neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield‘s two-dimensional map of brain functions and its three-dimensional cohort, the cortical homonculus:

A cortical homunculus is a physical representation of the primary motor cortex, i.e., the portion of the human brain directly responsible for the movement and exchange of sense and motor information (namely touch: sensitivity, cold, heat, pain etc.) of the rest of the body.

Sensory and motor homunculi

More information about brain function and Penfield’s maps can be found here.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon

Comments (1) | Filed under: Information Design, Visual Explanation

October 9, 2008, 11:13 am

Dynamic Diagrams Project for the World Health Organization Goes Live

By Lisa Agustin

TDR Home

The World Health Organization’s Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) unveiled its new corporate web site this week.

Although the existing site had much to offer, users had difficulty finding the information they needed (namely grant opportunties and TDR research publications), and the client felt that TDR’s contributions were buried.  The redesigned site features a new information architecture that makes key content easier to find, while highlighting TDR’s accomplishments and new business strategy.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon

Comments (0) | Filed under: Dynamic Diagrams News, Information Architecture, Web Interface Design

October 8, 2008, 12:44 pm

Political Word Clouds in Color

By Henry Woodbury

Using the Wordle platform, blogger Ann Althouse created a pair of word clouds from last night’s Barack Obama – John McCain U.S. presidential debate.

McCain’s cloud:

McCain word cloud

Obama’s cloud:

Obama word cloud

Althouse makes a profound point:

The most interesting words — like “Jell-O” and “corpse” — were only said once and stay off of their clouds. I’d like a program that makes a graphic of all the words that only appear once. They’re especially… important.

From a design perspective, what’s important is that word color, font, and placement don’t mean anything. Wordle allows you to choose your own colors and fonts for your word cloud and provides a gallery of placement options (horizontal, vertical, half and half, etc.). You can randomize all settings or reposition the words using current settings until you like the way they look.

Althouse is a law professor, but she has an art background and often blogs on art, photography, and the media. She clearly went for an aesthetic result in these two clouds. The McCain cloud looks like the “blue chill” palette, but I think the Obama cloud uses a custom palette, one designed to be different but complementary. Not that that means anything.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon

Comments (0) | Filed under: Art, Color, Current Events, Language, Typography

October 7, 2008, 3:09 pm

The Literal Version

By Henry Woodbury

What the storyboards say:

What you actually meant.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon

Comments (0) | Filed under: Art, Illustration, Information Design