Des493 Fall2008 Project1


Exploring visualizations

Making information visible and playable


Balogh, Samantha

Bollen, Kirsten

Braddy, Jerome

Connors, Diane

Foht, Andrea

Fok, Tiffany

Giacometti , Alejandro

Johnson, Camryn

Jung, Soohyun Liz

Lau, Angel

MacRae, Cameron

McKay, Courtenay

Ott, Alyssa

Wong, Gaby

Wong, Garry

Instructor: Carlos Fiorentino

Teaching Assistant: Kathleen Jacques


We see today a new trend of design that explores a new principle: “form follows data”, powered by combination of new technologies –such as super computing & data mining, satellites & optical fiber, etc.– and the increasing amount of information available through the internet. The challenge for designers is making this symbiosis work with meaning.

This project was a design exploration and a double challenge: solving an information design problem and making it work as a tool for interaction to the end user. Students explored different ways to make raw information visible, readable and understandable. The results were not static charts or conventional graphics though, rather design solutions worked as a dynamic interface that allows the user to play with possible scenarios, see potential results, identify main patterns and emphasize the most important aspect of the information shown. This kind of tool is in particular demanded by a new generation of researchers, professionals and general public used to interact with digital sources of information and moved from “traditional media” –newspapers, books, journals, etc.– to “new media” –personal computers, cellphones and other digital devices connected to internet.

The project had three parts:

1 Research: from information design to interacting with information: students had to research about the topic and find appropriate case studies

2 Designer as a problem identifier: students had to detect a space and/or situation that demands a visual solution to show information and interact with it through an interface, specify the media and context to be used, identify the topic and the problem, specify the target audience, submit a possible solution that includes how the system should work, how it should look and how it should grow.

3 Design a system of visualization tools: submision of final proposals

5 students from this class participated with this project in the WAVE exhibition “Blurring Boundaries”

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