For this issue of PJIM we’ve covered the range of design process—from purely experimental to hard deliverable. Information design functions at varying and fairly transdisciplinary levels. The information design process begins (one might say) at the level of personal interpretation with the mapping of concepts and the stories these concepts tell and concludes (again, arguably) with applied heuristics—a total focus on the user in the most objectively possible manner. Across these two aspects are the many areas of development, investigation, exploration, process, and execution. It is the range of ultimate intention which lends the crucial difference between them—sometimes this intention is derived quickly by the pattern that the information will take at the outset; sometimes it is a long, investigative process that leads to the discovery of the pattern that best represents the underlying data that needs to be conveyed.
In this issue, one investigation is purely experimental and designer-centric—the visual mapping of Mysterious Island (L'Île mystérieuse) the novel by Jules Verne. At the other extreme, we present a project undertaken at our PIIM labs toward a highly user-centric and purposeful outcome. This is a program entitled “Healthboard,” and it tackles the complexity of streamlining the information that supports the healthcare provider and patient relationship toward more efficient and effective healthcare provision. Between these is an article of great utility—showing how the attitude of how communicating data can be creatively embedded in design and toward socially focused outcomes. All three articles are heavily supported by details of the process and procedures that lead to the outcomes provided. In one example the designer(s) working independently, in the next the process of working within a professional research organization, and the third in the educational, student development level. We feel these three articles provide a window into process and outcomes that will be of great interest to our readers.
Jihoon Kang, Publisher, and William Bevington, Editor-in-Chief
Parsons Journal for Information Mapping
by Jen Seevinck, PhD, Jeremy Kerr, PhD
by Sherylene Chew, Berny Tan
by Jihoon Kang, MFA
Visual communication, interpretation, novice, tangible, design process
We explore the relationship between form and data as a design agenda and learning strategy for novice visual information designers. Our studentsw are university seniors in digital, visual design but novices to information design, manipulation, and interpretation. We describe design strategies developed to scaffold sophisticated aesthetic and conceptual engagement despite limited understanding of the domain of designing with information. These revolve around an openended design project where students created a physical design from data of their choosing and research. The accompanying learning strategies concern this relationship between data and form to investigate it materially, formally, and through ideation. Exemplary student works that cross media and design domains are described.
Jen Seevinck is an electronic artist, researcher, and lecturer in Interactive Visual Design at QUT with a PhD in Computing Sciences, Masters in Electronic Arts and Bachelor of Design Studies. Her work spans interactive art, design, tangibles, and visualization focusing on interaction design for creative and emergent audience behaviors. Jeremy Kerr is an academic and designer, whose research interests range from sustainable design to music branding/ promotion to new approaches in visual communication and narrative design. He teaches in Interactive and Visual Design at QUT with a PhD in Design and Bachelor of Design (Visual Communications) (1st Class Honours).
Literature, Jules Verne, data visualization, collaboration, web-based, qualitative data, experimental reading
The application of strict rules or the limited variables of data visualization to the immense fluidity of literature may seem at first counterproductive. Does systematizing literature diminish its power? Yet, authors weave great works of literature out of a specific organization and selection of words. This process, as intuitive and emotional as it might be, can thus be viewed as an interpretation of data. The infinite possibilities of the novel, the essay, the poem, and so on, are essentially crafted from linguistic data sets. Each work of literature, through their interpreters, then becomes the birthplace of derivative interpretations of data: stratums of innumerable branches that represent an individual reading of the text. Isle-to-Isle is an ongoing web-based collaborative reading project that grew out of one designer’s and one artist’s separate investigations into the visualization of literature. Drawing from our shared passion, yet differing approaches, we dissect the same literary source material—Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island. Every week for a year, we will read ten pages of the novel. Without consulting each other, we then each generate a diagram based off those ten pages. At this time we are going into the second month of the project. The results are publicly displayed online through a dual-input feed that explores the challenges of critically visualizing a discrete qualitative data set. Our personal and idiosyncratic method may stimulate new interpretations of the novel and the act of reading itself.
Sher Chew is a Singaporean designer currently based inNew York. She graduated from Parsons The New School for Design in 2014 with a B.F.A. in Communication Design. She sees design as a means of inquiry across all disciplines. Her practice is a reciprocal process of investigation, dissection and reconstruction. Berny Tan navigates her potential roles as artist, designer, writer, and curator in Singapore and New York. She received a B.F.A. in Visual & Critical Studies from the School of Visual Arts in 2014. Her work explores the interstices between the systematic visual language of diagrams and a deep, emotional introspection.
Electronic health record system, EHR, EMR, GUI, user experience, usability, healthcare, design process, military healthcare system, information visualization
The US military health care services have faced a great challenge of providing primary care to active duty personnel and family members due to resource allocation and other factors. The US Department of Defense (DoD) sought novel solutions to provide the primary care services to their beneficiaries using information technology. The Parsons Institute for Information Mapping (PIIM), in conjunction with Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC), had a unique opportunity to research and develop possible solutions for Patient Centered Medical Home through the capacity of graphic user interface design (GUI), user experience design (UXD), and information design. The efforts were centered on creating a visual interface tool—this paper focuses on the method and process taken during the performance period of 2010–2014 in response to this initiative. In addition, it highlights design challenges, approaches, and lessons learned.
Jihoon Kang is a communication designer and illustrator. He 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, information design, Graphical User Interface (GUI) Design, and User Experience Design (UXD). At PIIM, he has worked on projects form the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC), US Navy, United Nations Development Programme, and Macmillan Publishers. He has taught design courses at Parsons The New School For Design. He received BFA and MFA from Parsons, New York.