The Quest for Emotional Engagement: Information Visualization

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Show time: 37:42

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Today on Radio Johnny Jeff Parks talks with Stephen Anderson, about his workshop at the 10th anniversary of UX Week hosted by Adaptive Path. Stephen shares how design patterns such as spreadsheets, lists, dashboards and grid views suffice for getting data onto a screen. However, when it comes to making sense of this data, these same patterns hold us back from designing great experiences! Generic patterns are poor substitutes for a good custom visualization, especially one designed for the content being displayed.


I refactored and retooled the workshop and what I came back to people saying is there are four design patterns that I’ll call out by name and I guarantee that just about everyone in this room has used at least one if not all of these in the past year. Those four design patterns I’m going to reframe as “Villains!” [lists, spreadsheets, dashboards, grid views]… and then show examples of how those villains could be turned around and made better with new patterns or new visualizations.

The flip side to all of these [villains] is you’re building tools that are very easy to deploy, very efficient, low cost, reusable etc and that’s fine because it’s cost of entry…but I think we live in an age where we are moving beyond cost of entry. How can we make this better? How can we make this more effective?…This isn’t the end, this is the start.

…focusing on villains was to give people an easy way to identify opportunities to make things better. I didn’t want to overlook that there are lots of problems for which there are no villain – no one has even attempted to give a before version [He-who-has-yet-to-be-named].


* Follow Stephen on Twitter
* Mental Notes card deck
* Seductive Interaction Design: Creating Playful, Fun, and Effective User Experiences
* Adaptive Path’s iPad App

Jeff Parks

Jeff is the co-founder of DIGIA UX Inc. and actively collaborates with industry professionals from around the world through his involvement with Boxes and Arrows and Johnny Holland. Jeff is also leading workshops on Information Architecture and User Experience Design over at Follow the UX Leader, in addition to volunteering his time as a Mentor and Member of the Board of Directors for the Information Architecture Institute.

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