I've been interested for almost a good handful of years in the presentation of data, especially how we can "visually manage data." I would like to further explain the words, "visually" and "manage data."
To be 'visual' for me, is basically something you can see. But visual can mean so much more than that. As the saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words." Something that's visual can offer a meaning or understanding or even a feeling of something. It could have the potential to fire new ideas or thought far beyond what the surface level meaning of the visual. Visuals can help to discern both the micro and macro meaning of something. An image can lend its meaning by way of being static or can be animated and that can work in tandem with various colors, shapes and forms.
In my case, to "manage data" is to make sense of data; to understand the relationship/s between or among different data sets; to see how data interact with each other on both a metaphorical and physical sense; to see the summation and/or subtraction of data and how that effects the micro and macro meaning of the whole data set; to derive a critical thought about data and to decide whether if the data is valid. Most importantly, at least for me, to "manage data" is to break down the barrier of numbers and words, and monotony of what data can be and to embrace a playful attitude towards data if we can see it as play...I'll explain more in the next post...
I guess I'll leave it as that. The concept of using visuals as a mean to present and understand data is not new. Experts in the fields of data visualization, knowledge visualization, mind/concept maps, information/communication design and many other fields have all expertly talked about it and its great potential in helping us understand our world.
In this age of information and technology, we are both given not only great tools to make meaning from data, but also a lot data to make meaning from. Valid interpretation and management of information continue to take human towards greater advancement in all aspects of our lives.
The beauty in all of this as well as my hope is that with continual progress in technology and the increase popularity in visualizing data will allow people to have more access to data as well as have a more critical eye for analyzing data thus in turn will help them make more informed decisions.
In the endeavor to help people visually manage data, my career goal is to build various tools, applications and visual interfaces in helping them do so.
Below are my own sketches of a playful way in representing data...more explanation in future post...stay tune!