In this Issue of PJIM we explore how visualization serves as a critical aid in strategizing responses and formulating insight respecting the contextual rendering of the content we have before us. A fourth article cautions against relying on paradigms of usage that have become standardized through traditional, or “first-practiced” approaches, when opportunities for more effective usage (though non-user standard) might be more advantageously pursued. The notion of “touchpoints,” a term with ever-increasing application for both business-to-consumer and government-to-citizen considerations, serves to connect our four articles. In areas as socially decisive as evacuation preparedness; as crucial as disease monitoring; as business-critical as consumer/customer diagramming; and, as promising as improving user workflow, a better understanding of, and visualization of, touchpoints provides efficiencies of scale significant in our information age.
Brian Willison, Publisher, and William Bevington, Editor-in-Chief
Parsons Journal for Information Mapping
by Aidan Rowe, MRes
by Claudine Jaenichen, BFA
by James Kalbach, MA, & Paul Kahn, BA
by Jihoon Kang, MFA
Carnival, information visualisation, interaction design, interaction diagrammatisation, interface, social software, World Wide Web
This paper explores means of re-examining our relationship with, and interactions on, the web. By probing the dominant existing models—and providing alternatives—I ask questions of the current paradigms and present new opportunities for how we analyze our interactions and act online. Since the release of the first popularized graphical browser, Mosaic, in 1993, the web has become a market to control: first for information providers and browser companies, and later, for corporations and conglomerates. With each, a standardization of how we interact on the web came into being. Alternative interface models to existing hegemonic practices are not fully entertained as possible means of exploration of this space, hence, we continue to look and interact the same way.
By always following the same path are we negating new discoveries? By continually following these ingrained and orthodox practices are we missing opportunities? By porting existing standards to new software and hardware are we limiting our interaction possibilities?
This paper proposes that by exploring alternative interactive models we can better understand how we currently use the web and, more importantly, how we could use the web.
I will set out and re-examine the existing hegemonic interaction model; I will then classify, describe, and explore two broad categories of interface explorations. In each category I will present prototypes—designed artifacts—that provide alternative means of analysis, retrieval, and action, allowing the user to re-examine, re-explore, and re-discover how they use the web.
Aidan Rowe’s research and practice interests are in design and education. Recent practice-based work explores human computer interaction, net.art, and information aesthetics. Written and pedagogic work revolves around understanding and improving design education in practical and theoretical forms. He has lectured and taught design in Canada, Japan, Germany, Hong Kong, France, and the UK.
Cognition, education, evacuation, performance, public, semiotics, wayfinding
A recent benchmark concluded that only 9% felt confident in knowing how to respond to a city evacuation order. The benchmark also indicated that 80% would not know how they would be notified, and 86% would not know what to do should they be notified. This paper links the taxonomy of semiotics and visualization currently used in two approaches of evacuation information—city and aircraft scenarios—and provides juxtapositional perspectives in visual representation, as well as addressing issues of effectiveness of communication, planning, and training. Evacuation materials look and perform differently, not only due to spatial and logistical constraints (such as between city and aircraft scenarios), but also in evacuees’ communicative relationships (receiving, reading, and comprehending instructional information). Cognitive variables in the psychology of emergency ingress and egress, collective behavior, tunnel vision, and issues in temporary cognitive paralysis are applied to the assessment and evaluation of evacuation documents. The assessment and conclusion in addressing current evacuation material will be presented as a proposal for a city public pre-evacuation campaign improving resident education, training, and “path knowledge.”
Claudine Jaenichen received her BFA in graphic design at CalArts and her terminal degree in information design at the University of Reading in England. Her design and research projects apply issues in cognition and emergency psychology when assessing document performance and semiotics used in evacuation information. She is an Associate Research Fellow for Communication Research Institute.
Alignment diagrams, business complexity, experience design, information architecture, journey map, mental model, service blueprint, service design, touchpoints, value-centered design
Theorists and practitioners in design and business management use diagrams to locate business value at the intersection of products or services and customer actions. Information Architecture (IA), User Experience Design (UXD), and Service Design (SD) all seek to shape, design, and integrate the user/customer point of view with the business offer. All these practices benefit from a variety of visualization techniques to represent systemic thinking. We propose the term “alignment diagrams” to describe the class of maps and diagrams that visualize touchpoints in a business process. Such diagrams are implicitly part of the current design practice. Thus our definition of alignment diagrams is less a proposition for a new visual technique than recognition of how various techniques can be seen in a new and constructive way. Alignment diagrams are constructed to reveal touchpoints and thereby contribute to the design and business process. They have two parts: one capturing customer behavior and the other capturing the offer or business process. The intersection or overlap of these two parts reveals touchpoints, or the specific interactions customers have while doing business with an organization. It is the system of visual alignment that distinguishes this type of diagram. By aligning the user’s experiences with the business offers the diagram identifies and highlights the intersections where value can be located.
James Kalbach is a User Experience Consultant with LexisNexis, a leading provider of legal and news information, where he develops interfaces for web-based search applications. He previously served as head of information architecture with Razorfish, Germany. He holds a degree in library and information science from Rutgers University, as well as a Master’s degree in music theory and composition.
Paul Kahn, managing director of Kahn+Associates, is a leading international consultant, speaker and author on web site architecture and visualization. His activities in the United States included director of the Institute for Research in Information and Scholarship (IRIS) at Brown University, co-founder and president of Dynamic Diagrams and adjunct professor at the Rhode Island School of Design. He currently teaches in Mastère Multimédia programs in France, Switzerland and Finland.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), data analysis, decision-support, government emergency response, Graphical User Interface (GUI) design, healthcare, information visualization, public health, user experience design (UXD), usability
The American Hotspots Project is an emergency health-response system that allows operators to quickly ascertain insights and formulate appropriate responses respecting the spread of disease throughout geographic regions within their purview. Additionally, American Hotspots highlights polygons (such as a census block) where the most socially vulnerable demographic groups are located. This allows for: improved decision making respecting emergency response, aids provision, and prevention of the spread of contagious disease. This article describes how multiple information visualization approaches and techniques assist in enabling the interface users to accomplish these objectives. The system, in conjunction with effective visualization, also supports: intuitive data management, workflow collaboration, and, through visualization-enhanced analysis, the generation of reports and tangible outcomes.
Jihoon Kang currently serves as Associate Director at the Parsons Institute for Information Mapping (PIIM), The New School, New York. His background experience includes creative and program leadership, project management, Graphical User Interface (GUI) Design, User Experience Design (UXD), usability, information architecture, and developing user interaction models. At PIIM, he has worked on projects form the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, The Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs), The United Nations Development Programme, and Macmillan Publishers. Mr. Kang’s former capabilities were in the publication, communication design, and illustration, working for brands such as: Esquire, Cosmopolitan, and Good Housekeeping. He has taught at Parsons, The New School For Design. He obtained both Bachelor and Master degrees from the Parsons School of Design with focus in Design and Technology, Illustration, and Digital Animation.