Information Design Watch

December 2, 2011, 5:20 pm

Electrotyping Animation Now Online

By Henry Woodbury

The Electrotyping Animation we created for the Metropolitan Museum of Art has now been posted online. It is currently the featured video on the Met’s MetMedia page.

Here it is on Information Design Watch:

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: 3D Modeling, Art, Dynamic Diagrams News, Visual Explanation

November 22, 2011, 3:44 pm

Electrotyping Animation at the Met

By Henry Woodbury

Opening today is a new exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Victorian Electrotypes: Old Treasures, New Technology. The show presents a selection from the museum’s archive of electrotypes — Victorian-era copies of European decorative artifacts.

One of the main pieces of the show is the Bryant Vase, designed by Tiffany and Company. The vase itself was copied by electrotyping and the exhibit accompanies the original with its copper molds. Using the Bryant Vase as the main character, Dynamic Diagrams created a short animation explaining how the electrotyping process works.

Brant Vase with electrotyping animation in background

Bryant Vase with electrotyping animation in background

The video starts with slow zoom of a photo of the original vase. We then transition to a 3D model which we animate to show the steps in which a mold is created and immersed in a copper-sulfate bath. A “microscopic” view explains how copper ions transmit in the the bath from a positively charged copper bar to the negatively charged mold. Finally, we show how individual pieces are reassembled into a near-identical copy of the original and plated in silver.

By using 3D modeling software we are able to give exhibition visitors a greater understanding of the technology behind the works they are viewing.

Update: The Museum has posted an exhibition page.

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: 3D Modeling, Art, Dynamic Diagrams News, Visual Explanation

July 26, 2011, 6:31 pm

Dynamic Diagrams Has Moved

By Henry Woodbury

It has taken a few weeks to unpack the boxes and locate all the cables, but our new office is starting to look like a real office. We are on the second floor of 10 Davol Square, one of Providence’s beautiful 19th century brick commercial buildings.

Here is our new main conference room:

10 Davol Square Suite 200 Conference Room

And the whale mobile in the central area:

Whale Mobile

The address is:

10 Davol Square
Suite 200
Providence, RI 02903

Our phone numbers are the same.

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: Dynamic Diagrams News

July 19, 2011, 2:48 pm

University of Southern Maine Launches New Site

By Lisa Agustin

The University of Southern Maine recently launched a redesigned site based on an information architecture developed by Dynamic Diagrams. Like many enterprise-level web sites, the USM site is not so much a single site as it is a collection of smaller sites maintained by individual departments and groups.  Content had been organized by owner (and therefore required users to know the organizational structure of the university) and a de-centralized management approach meant that architecture and design were often inconsistent across the web site.   The university planned to migrate its content to a new content management system, and recognized this as an opportunity to create a new information architecture that would improve both the end-user experience and the process for maintaining and growing its web presence.  The new site’s architecture provides users with a more intuitive and streamlined online experience by grouping related information together (e.g., all information related to specific academic degree is available from a single location), while encouraging the use of the site as a community building tool (e.g., a “social dashboard” aggregates social media activities across campus).  At the same time, the architecture’s modular approach means that content owners can focus on creating information without worrying about its location on the web site.

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: Dynamic Diagrams News

April 26, 2011, 9:23 am

Launch! (Remodeling Dynamic Diagrams)

By Henry Woodbury

Late on Friday afternoon last week we relaunched DynamicDiagrams.com and this blog. The new site is more scalable than the old and incorporates more ways to present our work. Information Design Watch is incorporated into the main navigation of the site though it still resolves to its own dd.DynamicDiagrams.com subdomain. We like the new look too.

The relaunch has given us the opportunity to update our portfolio and present the popular dD Orrery on its own page. For the latter we’ve created free Mac and Windows screensavers you can download.

Let us know what you think.

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

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

February 16, 2011, 2:33 pm

University of Southern Maine Undertakes Re-Design with New Information Architecture by Dynamic Diagrams

By Lisa Agustin

How do you organize a collection of over one hundred, decentrally-managed micro-sites into a single, cohesive entity that offers a consistent user experience from the home page down to the lowest level?  This was the key issue facing the University of Southern Maine‘s site redesign, and Dynamic Diagrams was happy to help.  The university had plans to migrate the site to a new content management system, and recognized the importance of creating a new architecture to provide both a better experience for site visitors as well as a standardized approach to organizing content for micro-site owners.

After completing a rigorous research and analysis phase that included stakeholder interviews, an inventory of over 5,000 pages (you may have seen the earlier Post-It Note output here), user focus groups, and an online survey, we created a new information architecture (see above) and a set of core wireframes (page schematics) to illustrate the new high-level and page-level user experience, respectively.  The new architecture puts the user’s needs front-and-center by presenting all related information together (e.g., degree information that was previously scattered across the course catalog, academic department, and university system database), rather than forcing users to navigate multiple silos of information.   The architecture and wireframes will guide the development of the site’s new look and feel, which is now in progress.   Look for the new design to be launched later this year.

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

Comments (1) | Filed under: Diagrams, Dynamic Diagrams News, Information Architecture, User Experience

February 10, 2011, 9:55 am

Cameron & Mittleman LLP Launches New Web Site

By Lisa Agustin

Dynamic Diagrams is pleased to announce that the web site for the law firm of Cameron & Mittleman LLP is now live.  The two main goals for this project were a refresh to the site’s design, and an easy way to maintain the web site in-house.   We provided the information architecture, visual design, and web development services, which included a move to the WordPress platform.  Content for launch includes the history of the firm, staff profiles, and practice area information.  The extensible solution will enable the organization to add features planned for the future, including a blog.  You can view the web site at http://www.cm-law.com/

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

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

January 14, 2011, 2:17 pm

The 50 Pixel Hangover (Remodeling Dynamic Diagrams)

By Henry Woodbury

One significant target for our Remodeling Dynamic Diagrams project is the redesign of this blog. The interface designs are close to final now and have us thinking about how we will import current content. Unlike our primary web site we will not recreate content or images for Information Design Watch. Instead we will create a WordPress theme and apply it to the existing posts.

The issue is this. Our new blog design has a 640 pixel width content column. The current design has a 690 pixel width content column. Any image or object in our archives sized to the maximum setting of 690 pixels wide will not fit the new format.

We are approaching this issue in two different ways.

First, about month ago, we set 640 pixels as the maximum image size in the current theme. This means that recent images are already optimized to work within the new design.

Second, the new design features a wide content margin. Using a negative margin CSS technique, images up to 690 pixels can extend into this margin without obscuring sidebar links or breaking the column.

There is a third solution. We can manually edit each post with a 690 pixel width image and replace it. That one awaits a design intern.

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: Dynamic Diagrams News, Implementation, Technology, Web Interface Design

December 3, 2010, 10:18 am

Meta Works (Remodeling Dynamic Diagrams)

By Henry Woodbury

In Tim’s last post on Remodeling Dynamic Diagrams he mentioned our decision to use web fonts. By maintaining font files on our server and referencing them via @font-face calls in our CSS files, we can bring to our web presence the Meta typeface we have long used in our diagrams, presentations, print collateral and Flash animations.

This demo page shows the Meta Web version we have purchased for the site redesign. Internally we have tested it on Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8, and current versions of Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome (such incremental browser testing is part of our process). It also works on the iPhone’s Safari browser.

If the fonts on the demo page don’t resemble the image below on your browser, let us know!

A sample of Meta

UPDATE (December 9, 2010): As Andy mentions in the comments, the lower-case y in Meta Web Medium renders with a flaw. This appears on all Windows-based browsers. We’ve reprocessed the fonts and uploaded a new demo.

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

Comments (2) | Filed under: Dynamic Diagrams News, Implementation, Technology, Typography, Web Interface Design

November 22, 2010, 5:06 pm

Nightingale’s Serendipity

By Henry Woodbury

In the BBC News Magazine, mathematician and author Marcus du Sautoy extols the power of diagrams. The cliche that a picture is worth a thousand words misses the point, he explains. A scientific diagram has the power to transcend language, to “create a whole new visual language to navigate a scientific idea” or even show the impossible. “Words” is the wrong unit of measure.

Among other scientists and thinkers, du Sautoy draws examples from Copernicus, Newton, and Florence Nightingale. In that last case, he links to our recreation of Nightingale’s Rose, the circular set of charts that Nightingale created to show relative causes of death of soldiers during the Crimean war.

du Sautoy’s television series, The Beauty of Diagrams, is offered on BBC Four.

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

Comments (1) | Filed under: Charts and Graphs, Diagrams, Dynamic Diagrams News, Information Design, Visual Explanation

October 27, 2010, 6:57 am

A Small Taste of Design (Remodeling Dynamic Diagrams)

By Tim Roy

Poetry is emotion put into measure. The emotion must come by nature, but the measure can be acquired by art.
- Thomas Hardy

It has been a week since an update on the redesign of the Dynamic Diagrams website, but work has been progressing steadily behind the scenes.  Kirsten, the lead information architect on the project, has worked with the team to develop a solid set of functional and business requirements which have gone through several reviews.  With requirements now final, some slight changes have been made to the information architecture of the site itself, although the emphasis remains on the overall design.

One of the steps in creating an information architecture. Our site did not require this many Post-Its!

Wireframes are also complete and so the work has been turned over to Matt, who is the design lead.  It is not an enviable job, designing for a group who spend their days fully focused on all things visual.  Matt’s first decision was to use “web fonts“, an emerging standard that allows us to employ our company standard, Meta, without having to use (or maintain) image files.  This provides us with a tremendous degree of flexibility while still allowing us to create a consistent look and feel for Dynamic Diagrams.

A sample of Meta

Matt has produced a first draft of a design style and has received feedback from the working group.  This will result in a second version that will be presented to the entire Dynamic Diagrams staff sometime next week.  Despite the tough audience he will be facing, Matt can be assured that we will provide him with useful feedback (as opposed to the “I’ll know it when I see it” or “looks good, but can you make it blue?” nightmares that haunt all design professionals).  As reported earlier, the biggest change will be in providing a far wider and deeper range of work from our portfolio and Matt and Kirsten seem to have that well in hand.

A large format diagram from 1999.

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: Dynamic Diagrams News, Information Architecture, Typography

October 25, 2010, 3:49 pm

Requests from the Audience?

By Tim Roy

Over the past month, we have expanded the range of topics covered here on Information Design Watch.  By looking more broadly at art, museums, culture, and some of the earlier work at Dynamic Diagrams, we are discovering connections to our core focus of visual explanation and user experience that had not previously been considered.  We have also become much more active on both Twitter and Facebook with the intent of creating additional channels for expressing our ideas and interacting with both clients and peers.

Dynamic Diagrams has enjoyed its own share of exposure in years past.  We were featured in Richard Saul Wurman’s Information Architects, d/D founders Paul Kahn and Krzysztof Lenk created Mapping Web Sites, and the company was fortunate enough to contribute a chapter to Understanding USA, Richard Wurman’s book commemorating the 10th TED conference (TEDX).  Several of our friends and advisors have suggested we consider writing a new book and perhaps this work on the blog will help us to focus that idea.

More of this?

In the interim, we would like to hear from you, our readers, as to what areas you would like us to cover.  More pieces on museum interactives?  Continued coverage of terrific work in visualization?  Book reviews?  Interviews?  More work on presentation theory (I have a new piece on Shakespeare that I am almost ready to publish)?  I know that our coverage of user experience will certainly continue as we are constantly expanding our expertise in understanding user behavior and information design.

Or this?

The “Remodeling Dynamic Diagrams” series has a number of installments left and we are working to develop additional regular features.  And if the current eclectic mix of visualization, storytelling, user experience knowledge, and pointers to the fascinating work we come across is working well, let us know that too.

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: Dynamic Diagrams News, User Experience, Visual Explanation

October 19, 2010, 9:37 pm

Learning the Language of Experts (Remodeling Dynamic Diagrams)

By Tim Roy

In the early days of Dynamic Diagrams, Paul Kahn used to claim that we were “experts in doing things we had never done before.” While this often left prospective clients with puzzled looks on their faces as they considered the implications of this statement, to a degree it was true. This was, after all, the early 1990s, a time when the web was just emerging and information design and user experience were still relatively unknown. The idea of considering users or the information to be presented felt alien to most clients who had grown up on a steady diet of print layout or software interface design.

Site map for the first online version of the journal Nature

A 1997 web site created for West Publishing

Twenty years later, as we consider our new web presence, I stepped back to look at some of the work going on today. Our teams are currently busy on such projects as:

  • Visualizing research results from a maternal health project underwritten by the Gates Foundation
  • Creating a new user experience design for a major New England University
  • Developing interactive data presentations and dashboards for a Fortune 100 company
  • Refining the information architecture and visual design of a small section of an intranet we designed for a health service organization that had grown to over 15,000 employees
  • Producing a 2 minute animated video including development of a detailed 3D model for a major Los Angeles museum
  • Testing logo design and messaging for a publishing support company

We are still constantly exposed to new and exciting challenges in terms of information to be presented. For most of us, it is what makes the work rewarding: learning about subjects ranging from 17th century furniture construction, to dynamically sorting and presenting data contained in tens of millions of records, to understanding how today’s health care knowledge workers can be made more efficient in their daily lives. What is different though, is that while the information, the audience and the business goals change, we have developed a codified process that produces repeatable success.

With these tools in hand, we are lucky enough to be able to spend time with some of the leading experts in the world: aerospace engineers, chief medical officers, particle physicists, museum conservators, and technology product developers. In each case, we learn their language, their point of view, and begin to see the information they want to present from the inside out. Thinking way back to my own academic training at Hampshire College, we were taught to first and foremost consider the “mode of inquiry” when learning a new discipline. Many years later, this model still hold true, although perhaps what Paul should have told clients was that we were experts in doing things no one had ever done before. And he would have been right.

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

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

October 13, 2010, 2:44 pm

Pizza and Success (Remodeling Dynamic Diagrams)

By Tim Roy

A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured, then quietly strangled.

- Sir Barnett Cox

Our remodeling project got underway yesterday with our entire team meeting to discuss direction and goals.  The first order of business was to NOT form a committee.  Instead, we are approaching the work as if it was for a trusted client: assigning a project manager, information architect, designer, and web developer who will be with the project from start to finish.

Over a lunch of pizza from Bob and Timmy’s (our new Providence favorite) and my own eponymous salad from Rue Bis, we reviewed the ghosts of past d/D web sites and discussed how we might define success.  As a design consultancy, we have come to realize how challenging it is to succinctly describe our work.  There were some brief laments over how simple it must be to say one is a doctor or a lawyer or a butcher instead of having to launch into a description of information design, cognitive science, and user experience.

We soon realized, however, that our goals and the thorny problem of the simple description could be addressed with a single solution: showing off more of our work.  Over the past twenty years our portfolio has grown and we have hundreds and hundreds of examples that almost no one has seen.  Expect that to change when the new Dynamic Diagrams site launches.  Here are a few previews:

Screen Shot from New York Interactive

Diagram for SAP Knowledge Environment

Screen Shot from Beltrametti Interactive

Watch this blog for updates as the project continues – each entry will have a (Remodeling Dynamic Diagrams) in the title.

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: Dynamic Diagrams News

October 11, 2010, 8:32 pm

Remodeling Dynamic Diagrams

By Tim Roy

In the coming weeks, you will see a number of changes at Dynamic Diagrams.  You may have already noticed the increase in our blogging activity here on Information Design Watch.  We now have an active Facebook IconFacebook and Twitter IconTwitter presence and myself and other team members are working to add useful and interesting content to these channels as regularly as possible.

There will also be modifications to our web site.  Dynamic Diagrams has been on the web since the mid-1990s.  The earliest shot I could find using the Wayback Machine was from 1996:

Dynamic Diagrams Web Site circa 1996

Dynamic Diagrams Web Site circa 2005

We are setting off in a new direction with the goal of simplifying our online presence and incorporating the powerful social media tools that allow us to keep the content fresh and provide useful information for clients and fans alike.  We also want to be able to showcase more of our work – some of the classic user experience diagrams, the early visualizations done for companies such as Netscape, and our more recent video and interactive pieces.

While this will not turn into a reality TV event, we will keep you updated as this process evolves so that you can “peek over our shoulders”  as we work.  I will provide some behind-the-scenes insights into how decisions were made, some of the ideas we consider and reject, and how it feels to be our own client.  I hope you enjoy watching this unfold and seeing the results once they are complete.

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

Comments (1) | Filed under: Dynamic Diagrams News, User Experience

October 8, 2010, 9:29 am

New Ways to Follow Information Design Watch

By Kirsten Robinson

Information Design Watch fans and friends of Dynamic Diagrams now have two new ways to keep up with our latest news, information design obsessions, and other things that strike our fancy. We are on Facebook IconFacebook and Twitter IconTwitter. Follow us for immediate notifications of new blog posts as well as more tweets about visual explanation, user experience design, and more. We will also continue to publish Information Design Watch as a monthly email newsletter, for those who prefer that format.

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: Dynamic Diagrams News, Social Media

August 10, 2010, 9:42 am

Global Reach, Local Recognition

By Henry Woodbury

Recently Providence Business News ran a profile of Dynamic Diagrams, based on a visit to the company and an interview with our president, Tim Roy. Here, Tim explains the importance of our information architecture and visualization practice:

“People are dealing with 100,000 words per day coming at them,” Roy said, “and they spend on average almost 12 hours consuming information every day and most of that takes place in front of screens, whether it’s a computer screen, a smart phone or a television set.

“We believe this is too much information coming at people and what we’re really trying to do is help folks simplify the story, take all of this data and transform it into knowledge,” he said.

From our founding in 1990 by Krzysztof Lenk and Paul Kahn, we have been proud to call Providence  home. We’ve been fortunate to work with many dynamic organizations in the city and region. And we’ve found this city a great base from which to take on projects from around the world.

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

Comments (1) | Filed under: Dynamic Diagrams News

July 29, 2010, 12:26 pm

Historic New England’s Collections Online

By Kirsten Robinson

The Portsmouth Herald has published an article about Historic New England’s new web site and online collections project, for which Dynamic Diagrams provided web strategy, information architecture and design services, as well as project management for the site’s development.

You can view the web site at www.historicnewengland.org or dive right into searching and browsing the online collections — full of photos, artifacts, and reference materials having to do with 400 years of New England History.

We’re currently in the final stage of the project, conducting usability tests on the new site.

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: Dynamic Diagrams News, Information Architecture, Scholarly Publishing, Usability, User Experience, Web Interface Design

July 19, 2010, 11:11 am

Review, Reuse, Inflate

By Henry Woodbury

One of our favorite design interns, Jonathan O’Conner is on to bigger things. Much bigger.

Billboard Balloon

Last summer Jonathan helped us out with his 3D modeling skills on a 21 inch monitor. This summer, with a team of fellow industrial designers, he is figuring out how to reuse giant plastic billboard sheets.

Check out their blog for a look at their creative process (the multi-colored post-it notes look familiar), brainstorms, technical investigations, and prototypes.

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: Creativity, Dynamic Diagrams News, Prototyping, Technology

May 27, 2010, 2:15 pm

Historic New England Web Site Goes Live

By Kirsten Robinson

Historic New England’s redesigned web site is now live at www.historicnewengland.org. Historic New England is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and presenting New England’s history. They own and operate 36 historic house museums, provide educational programming for adults and children, collect and conserve historic objects and archives, help preservation organizations and homeowners protect and maintain historic sites, and publish books and magazines about history and preservation.

Some highlights of the new site:

  • Improved navigation and fresh visual design replaced a site that had grown organically over ten years.
  • Greatly expanded content on historic properties, preservation, and more: site updates are completely under the control of Historic New England staff for the first time, through an easy-to-use content management system (CMS) called Plone.
  • Online collections access: users can now browse and search Historic New England’s extensive collections of museum objects, archival materials, and books. Online exhibitions are also easier to create.

Users can search and browse the collections and archives

  • Interactive events calendar allows users to browse events by date and location and then click through to the online shop for registration.
  • Search engine provides quick access to site content and collection highlights from any page, and there are also specialized searches for collections and events.
  • Galleries and slide shows are available throughout the site to better present Historic New England’s great photography. Here’s one about the animals at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm.
  • Multimedia is also supported, as seen in the Berlin & Coos County oral history project.
  • Interactive map provides a visual overview of Historic New England’s 36 property locations.
Map to Historic New England's 36 properties

Interactive map to Historic New England's 36 properties

  • Integration with Historic New England’s online shop (developed by a third party) enables them to sell memberships, donations, event registrations, and merchandise. The shop integration will also enable single sign on between the site and the shop, allowing access to restricted content as well as member discounts on purchases.
  • News has categories and feeds to position news appropriately throughout the site, and allows user commenting.
  • Microsites enable visitors to rent properties for weddings and functions and to celebrate Historic New England’s centennial.
Home page for the Function Rentals microsite

Home page for the Function Rentals microsite

Dynamic Diagrams has been working with Historic New England since January 2009 to define web strategy, information architecture, user experience, and visual design for the site. We worked with our development partners to implement the site using the Plone CMS, to convert legacy content, and to integrate the site visually and functionally with Historic New England’s online shop. We collaborated with our partners and Historic New England’s collections team to define and develop the Collections Access portal. Finally, we and our partners trained Historic New England staff authors on Plone and writing for the web, so that they could develop new content for the site and maintain it going forward.

We are thrilled to see the site go live and congratulate Historic New England on a successful launch.

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

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

May 25, 2010, 11:38 am

Saint Ginés Wins MUSE Award

By Henry Woodbury

Dynamic Diagrams and the J. Paul Getty Museum have won a  2010 Silver MUSE award for the Getty-produced video Making a Spanish Polychrome Sculpture. Dynamic Diagrams created the 3D animation that opens the video and shows how the XVII century sculpture was assembled. The Getty integrated this animation with live action footage that shows carving and surface treatment techniques. The effectiveness of this combination was noted by many of the judges:

This is a fine example of technology effectively used to clearly demonstrate an intricate artistic process. It’s the combination of the digital imagery with the live footage of an artist that makes this video exciting and fascinating for all kinds of audiences

The MUSE awards are presented annually by the American Association of Museums’ Media and Technology committee. They recognize “institutions or independent producers which use digital media to enhance the museum experience and engage new audiences.” We are proud to work with The Getty on projects of such scope and distinction.

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

Comments (1) | Filed under: 3D Modeling, Art, Current Events, Dynamic Diagrams News, Technology, Visual Explanation

May 19, 2010, 12:52 pm

Explore the Display Cabinet

By Henry Woodbury

Augsburg Display Cabinet at The Getty MuseumOne of the masterworks in The Getty Museum’s newly opened European sculpture and decorative arts galleries is the Augsburg Display Cabinet, a lavishly decorated 17th century cabinet that once would have stored a collector’s curios and precious objects.

The cabinet features many panels and doors beyond those opened for display. To give visitors a look inside the cabinet and help them understand the details of its decoration and construction, The Getty asked Dynamic Diagrams to create an interactive 3D model of the artifact.

Working closely with Getty curators and media professionals, we used a comprehensive set of photographs to build the model and apply surface details. We then coded our application to import text and zoomable images from an external source, allowing Getty staff full control over the descriptions and detail views that accompany the model.  

Our application is presented in the gallery on a touchscreen display, as seen at right in this photo from the Daily News of Los Angeles.

The Getty has also placed the application on its web site allowing you to explore the wonders of the Augsburg Cabinet on your own computer.

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: 3D Modeling, Art, Current Events, Dynamic Diagrams News, Visual Explanation

April 8, 2010, 4:57 pm

Guest Teaching InfoViz

By Kirsten Robinson

Dr. Bill Gribbons at Bentley University recently invited Dynamic Diagrams to present some of our work to his Information Visualization class. The class is part of the Master’s degree program in Human Factors in Information Design, of which I’m an alumna.

After I gave a brief introduction to Dynamic Diagrams, Piotr took the spotlight, showing a wide variety of visual explanations from past and present projects. Examples included highly detailed web site inventories and architecture diagrams, process illustrations, data visualizations, and animated 3D models. While Piotr explained the challenges and design solutions for each project, I played Vanna White, zooming and scrolling so the students (some of whom were attending online) could see relevant sections.

It was a great experience for me to revisit some of the past work (Samsung Electronics, Holtzbrinck), and to understand some of the more recent work (Getty) in greater depth. There never seems to be enough time to sit back and appreciate our colleagues’ work during a normal workday.

Holtzbrinck web properties inventory

Holtzbrinck web properties inventory

The best part was hearing the audible gasps as we revealed each new piece. As part of their coursework, students are required to create their own information displays, while also explaining the human factors (visual and cognitive) that help or hinder our ability to process them. I hope we were able to provide a bit of inspiration for their next projects!

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: 3D Modeling, Diagrams, Dynamic Diagrams News, Information Design, Visual Explanation

February 20, 2010, 10:42 am

Visualizing More Affordable Care

By Henry Woodbury

The February 2010 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology features work by Dynamic Diagrams for an article titled Alternatives to a Routine Follow-Up Visit for Early Medical Abortion. The article describes a protocol for assessing a woman’s health after an abortion without routine use of ultrasonography. To quote from the abstract:

We constructed five model algorithms for evaluating women’s postabortion status, each using a different assortment of data. Four of the algorithms (algorithms 1–4) rely on data collected by the woman and on the results of the low-sensitivity pregnancy test. Algorithm 5 relies on the woman’s assessment, the results of the pregnancy test, and follow-up physician assessment (sometimes including bimanual or speculum examination).

A sponsor of the study, Gynuity Health Products, asked Dynamic Diagrams to visualize the data. Our explanation shows the results for the current standard of care and five algorithms tested by the researchers. For each approach we show the total number of cases, the number of women returning to a clinic for a follow-up visit, and the number of women receiving a follow-up ultrasound. In contrasting colors we show specific additional treatment cases in two columns; those identified by the protocol on the left vs. those not necessarily identified by the protocol on the right. In large type we provided the percentage of the number of follow-up ultrasounds to the total number of cases. This combination of rich data points and a key percentage makes it easy to compare the effectiveness of each algorithm. A sample of this visual language (without labels) is shown below:

Alternatives to a Routine Follow-Up Visit for Early Medical Abortion, Figure 2

While we cannot reprint the full text of article, we can provide the visual explanation used as Figure 2: Algorithms identifying women who received additional care after medical abortion (PDF, 409K).

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: Books and Articles, Charts and Graphs, Dynamic Diagrams News, Infographics, Information Design, Scholarly Publishing, Visual Explanation

February 15, 2010, 4:01 pm

Cressey Performance Web Site Relaunches

By Henry Woodbury

Our latest web site design is for Cressey Performance in nearby Hudson, Massachusetts. Cressey Performance is a weight-training gym with an international reputation for its work with competitive athletes, from youth sports to professionals. Directed by the highly-respected Eric Cressey, the facility is a go-to training destination for professional baseball players, including Kevin Youkilis of the Boston Red Sox, as well as other elite athletes such as 2010 USA Olympic Bobsledder Bree Schaaf.

The site is designed around a tight core of informational pages about the facility, while a new CP Blog provides an ongoing venue for current news, training videos, and links to the top stories at the separate blogs maintained by Eric Cressey and staff nutritionist Brian St. Pierre.

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

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

January 12, 2010, 11:13 am

Historic New England Centennial Site Now Live

By Kirsten Robinson

Historic New England has launched a Centennial microsite to celebrate their 100th year of preserving New England’s history and to highlight centennial projects that they are creating in conjunction with community partners throughout the New England states. Key site features include an events calendar, photo galleries and slide shows, and video oral histories.

Historic New England Centennial oral history page

Historic New England selected Dynamic Diagrams to create the user experience for the site (research, information architecture, visual design, and XHTML and CSS coding). We worked with our development partners to implement a Plone content management system (CMS) that provides Historic New England — for the first time — with complete control to create their own pages.

The Centennial site is also a preview of things to come. Watch this space for a future announcement of Historic New England’s redesigned and enhanced main web site.

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

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

December 8, 2009, 3:30 pm

Additional Features Launched on ipHandbook Site

By Lisa Agustin

Dynamic Diagrams is pleased to announce the latest release of the ipHandbook of Best Practices web site.  An online resource for practitioners of  intellectual property management, the initial site was based on a comprehensive printed Handbook and Executive Guide.  Now, with support from the Concept Foundation, the latest iteration of the site includes:

  • Selected video presentations from the Licensing Executives Society International annual meeting, created exclusively for the ipHandbook site
  • Commenting and uploading capabilities to enable the larger community to contribute original content
  • An updated Networking area with discussion forum functionality
  • Country-specific intellectual property management resources for India and the Republic of Ghana, with more to follow

These latest additions will expand the ipHandbook site as a key resource for IP management, while enabling the creation of a global virtual community of IP and innovation managers, policymakers, scientists, and R&D leaders.

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: Dynamic Diagrams News

October 23, 2009, 3:45 pm

The Mummy Animation Joins the Mummy

By Henry Woodbury

At the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Getty Villa Malibu, our 3D animation of the of Mummy of Herakleides is now installed in the gallery:

Mummy of Herakleides Exhibit at the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Getty Villa Malibu

It’s a perfect day for a trip to Malibu.

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: 3D Modeling, Art, Dynamic Diagrams News, Visual Explanation

September 30, 2009, 9:10 am

TDR Launches New Interface Design

By Henry Woodbury

Today TDR updated their site with a new banner, color palette, and home page layout.

The design and roll out resulted from close partnership between TDR, Dynamic Diagrams, and other consultants. The result is a fresh look and a home page layout that reflects the evolving use of the site.

Co-sponsored by UNICEF, UNDP, the World Bank, and WHO, TDR, “funds research in infectious diseases of poverty, and provides support and training to researchers and institutions in the countries where these diseases occur.”

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: Dynamic Diagrams News, Scholarly Publishing, Web Interface Design

August 26, 2009, 1:29 pm

Mummy of Herakleides

By Henry Woodbury

The Mummy of Herakleides at the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Getty Villa Malibu is an Egyptian mummy from the Roman period (about A.D. 150). To explain the mummification process, the Getty asked Dynamic Diagrams to create a short movie for display in the gallery.

This particular mummy has several unique features, revealed by CT scans, including the removal of the heart (more commonly the lungs were removed) and the placement of a mummified ibis on the abdomen of Herakleides within the final wrapping.

Using 3D modeling software we animated the process by which the nearly 2000-year-old artifact was created. The final cut, with voice over, has now been posted to the Getty web site and YouTube:

A higher resolution version is also available on YouTube.

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: 3D Modeling, Art, Dynamic Diagrams News, Visual Explanation

May 12, 2009, 2:47 pm

Enhanced ipHandbook Web Site Launched

By Lisa Agustin

Dynamic Diagrams is pleased to announce the re-launch of the ipHandbook of Best Practices web site.  Developed for practitioners of  intellectual property management, the site first launched in 2007 with a comprehensive printed Handbook and Executive Guide serving as core content.  Now, thanks to a new collaboration with the Concept Foundation and funding by the Rockefeller Foundation, the site has expanded to include multimedia content and tools that collectively result in a more dynamic experience.  New offerings include:

  • A growing collection of online video presentations, including several prepared specifically for the ipHandbook site
  • Distance learning courses, including one prepared by and for the ipHandbook community in collaboration with UNIDO’s e-Biosafety Training Programme
  • Integration of a Twitter feed for timely updates
  • Integrated Google translation on each page
  • Advanced search functionality

Over the next six months, additional features will be released, including networking functionality, discussion boards, and a feature for posting comments and uploading original content to the site.  These enhancements will not only grow the site as an online resource, but also encourage the creation of a global virtual community of IP and innovation managers, policymakers, scientists, and R&D leaders.

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: Dynamic Diagrams News

March 20, 2009, 2:01 pm

Dynamic Diagrams at Etech 09

By Maia Garau

Last week I presented a tutorial at Etech on Holistic Service Prototyping with Matt Cottam, Jasper Speicher and Brian Hinch of Tellart. This tutorial built on the advanced studio Matt and I taught last semester in the Industrial Design department at RISD on the topic of Service Design. Services are by nature intangible and therefore present exciting new design challenges both in terms of communicating and developing service concepts. Through a combination of lectures and hands-on projects we explored a range of approaches with our students, from customer journeys and service blueprints to video and live enactment. Some of their work is featured here.

In addition to the key concepts and methods covered in our studio, the Etech tutorial introduced tools and techniques for building functional sketch models of web, mobile and embedded service experiences. Participants also played a brainstorming game we created that was partly inspired by Clue (“Professor Plum…. in the Library…. with a Candlestick”). They chose different combinations of users, contexts and tools to dream up new mobile and embedded service experiences, e.g. “Only child… on a road trip…. with an airflow sensor.” We have some video of the session and plan to post it soon.

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: Design, Dynamic Diagrams News, Prototyping

February 18, 2009, 8:53 pm

3D Modeling Reveals Construction of Saint Ginés

By Henry Woodbury

In conjunction with a current exhibition of Luisa Roldana’s Saint Ginés de La Jara, the J. Paul Getty Museum created a video of the techniques used to create the medieval polychrome statue.

Dynamic Diagrams work is featured in the first section of the video, in which 3D modeling software is used to recreate the assembly of the XVII century wooden sculpture.

Still for Saint Gines Video

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: 3D Modeling, Art, Dynamic Diagrams News, Visual Explanation

January 16, 2009, 4:46 pm

Dynamic Diagrams White Papers

By Henry Woodbury

For our recent Dynamic Diagrams site redesign we competely updated our two longstanding white papers (PDF format):

Why Your Ideas Need Visual Explanation and
Why Your Online Projects Need Information Architecture

Today we added our most recent white paper to the site:

Why Your Sales and Marketing Communciations Need Visual Explanation

With analysis and examples, this paper rounds out our presentation of how our approach delivers tangible benefits to business. We welcome your perusal and feedback.

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: Business, Dynamic Diagrams News

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 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 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

February 7, 2008, 1:02 pm

Dynamic Diagrams Has Moved

By Henry Woodbury

Dynamic Diagrams Has Moved

Our new address is:

111 Chestnut Street
Providence R1 02903

Our email, internet address, and phone numbers have stayed the same.

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: Dynamic Diagrams News

January 2, 2008, 11:10 am

American Physical Society Launches Dynamic Diagrams Redesign of Physical Review Letters

By Lisa Agustin

The American Physical Society’s flagship journal, Physical Review Letters, has a new look and feel, thanks to a redesign by Dynamic Diagrams. Along with an updated masthead, the redesign features clearer navigation options, quick access to content from the current issue via a tabbed interface, and a snapshot of the latest news and most cited papers. As part of the PRL redesign, Dynamic Diagrams also designed a sub-site to commemorate the journal’s 50th anniversary, which includes an interactive timeline of notable papers and events since 1893. PRL’s new visual design is part of a larger effort to create a new visual design system that will be applied to eight additional journals and the APS Journals umbrella site. Redesigned versions of these sites will be launched in the coming months.

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: Dynamic Diagrams News, Scholarly Publishing, Web Interface Design

November 26, 2007, 3:18 pm

Dynamic Diagrams’ Project Wins Award

By Lisa Agustin

WaveNet, Sentara Healthcare’s employee Intranet, recently received a Gold “eHealthcare Leadership Award” for Best Intranet Site from publisher Strategic Health Care Communications. As with many Intranets, WaveNet is not so much a single web site as a collection of sub-sites produced for business units, internal programs, and promotional efforts. Dynamic Diagrams helped improve WaveNet by creating an information architecture that is more intuitive, making it easier for users to find information, but also standardized and modular–a plus for developers who are implementing new sub-sites. Using our final information architecture and supporting wireframes, Sentara created page designs which we then reviewed to ensure that they followed best practices for usability.

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: Dynamic Diagrams News

November 12, 2007, 10:37 am

Dynamic Diagrams Launches Two Web Sites

By Lisa Agustin

Two web sites created by Dynamic Diagrams were launched last month at the annual Global Forum for Health Research in Beijing.

The IP Handbook of Best Practices is an intellectual property management resource for policy makers, technology transfer professionals, licensing executives, and scientific researchers. Core to the web site is the Intellectual Property Management in Health and Agricultural Innovation: A Handbook of Best Practices, a printed text comprised of 153 chapters covering a variety of topics ranging from subject overviews (e.g., technology evaluation and valuation) to more practical concerns (e.g., contracts and agreements). The IP Handbook site leverages the capabilities of the web by enabling users to explore content based on their audience role with links to user-specific site and topic guides, and a blog for keeping up to date on the latest IP management news and views. The handbook also takes advantage of existing IP-related resources, with links to networking opportunities, training programs, publications, and IP-related databases. Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the site was developed with MIHR (the Centre for Management of Intellectual Property in Health Research and Development) and PIPRA (The Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture).

The Tropical Diseases Research to Foster Innovation and Knowledge Application web site, or TropIKA, is a global knowledge management electronic portal for sharing essential information and facilitating identification of priority needs and major research gaps in the field of infectious diseases of poverty. Areas of knowledge include: public health research needs and scientific opportunities; research-based evidence in support of control and policy; high profile research activities and control projects; international research funding and support opportunities; and potential innovations for interventions and control of infectious diseases of poverty. Intended for policy makers and research scientists, the site offers research, news, commissioned thematic reviews, virtual journals, policy and strategy briefs, funding opportunities, networks (communities of practice, forums) and resources (training packages, factual databases, multimedia). To help users access specialized content quickly, the site offers a mechanism for filtering content across multiple diseases, content types, and geographic regions. This site was developed under the leadership of the World Health Organization’s Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR).

We are grateful to the project team members that made these endeavors a success, especially those at Frederick Toth & Associates, Inc., our development partner for both projects.

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: Dynamic Diagrams News

May 10, 2007, 8:32 pm

St Andrews Relaunches Web Site with Information Architecture by Dynamic Diagrams

By Mac McBurney

Our collaboration with the University of St Andrews was an important reminder about organizations and their information: Good information architecture is necessary, but it is not sufficient. Copious, heterogeneous, complex information tends to come from organizations of similar description, so improving the web site–especially the public web site–means getting intimate with the culture and politics of the organization.

Luckily, our colleagues at St Andrews understood their new information architecture as a process, not an event. They involved people from across the university, took the time to understand the reasons behind our recommendations, and called on us to help educate stakeholders about our plans. The project was part town meeting, part information architecture crash course, not to mention figuring out where to put all those web pages.

Structurally, the relaunched web site is a radical departure from the old. (The 404 error page gives a hint.) Previously, the university’s many administrative offices had each looked after their own presence on the web, and the site became–for good and understandable reasons–a daunting, overgrown web-site-as-org-chart. The new information architecture makes two important changes. First, the site represents the character and vitality of the institution as a whole, not just the individual parts. Second, no prior knowledge of the university’s bureaucracy is required. Content is organized according to its audience, not its author. The home page and its subsidiaries are tailored for outside audiences and infrequent visitors. Alternate home pages, a completely separate system of categories, and different navigation and interface designs are provided for current students and staff.

To see photos of a sunny day in Scotland and read about our presentation last June (and other tales) from someone on the client’s side, check out Gareth Saunders’ personal blog, View from the Potting Shed.

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

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

November 16, 2006, 10:59 am

Dynamic Diagrams Project Wins eHealthcare Leadership Awards

By Lisa Agustin

Sentara Healthcare, a healthcare organization based in southeastern Virginia, recently received two eHealthcare Leadership Awards for its public-facing web site, Sentara.com.

The site received the awards from eHealthcare Strategy & Trends magazine in the categories of “Best Quality Communication” and “Best Overall Internet Site” for a healthcare system. Dynamic Diagrams partnered with Sentara to create a new information architecture and supporting visual design, with the goal of enabling deeper online interaction between patients and the Sentara organization.

The redesign was also an early step in the organization’s plan for a role-based enterprise portal, which will eventually merge Sentara.com with the organization’s employee and provider intranet sites, and the public site for its health insurance plan, Optima Health.

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: Dynamic Diagrams News

October 5, 2006, 9:20 am

Photographs by Piotr Kaczmarek

By Henry Woodbury

The new issue of New, the “Irregular Literary Poetry Avant Garde Art Magazine” edited by Dynamic Diagrams’ founder, Paul Kahn, features photographs by our Creative Director Piotr Kaczmarek:

I chose the leafless trees as a subject because I was interested in a clear visual representation of a complex structure; starting from the high level of defined spaces between tree canopies, then the obvious organization of branches, and patterns of twigs. I like the drawing-like line qualities of the subject. What the collages are after is to reveal the fractal nature of these organic shapes.

Leafless Trees 5.jpg

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

Comments (0) | Filed under: Design, Dynamic Diagrams News, Photography