The Information Architecture Institute
A conference on designing
complex information spaces of all kinds.
New York City, October 4 and 5, 2007

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new Michael Wesch videos from IDEA 2007


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Michael Wesch, the opening keynote at IDEA last week, introduced two new videos he produced. He’s now made them publicly available.

A Vision of Students Today


Information R/evolution


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Visualization: Fernanda Viegas from IBM


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Post HistoryFernanda Viegas began by putting visualization in context: something I was thrilled to hear. She explained that visualization is often seen as an expert to expert interaction: lab coated data-junkies making complex data visualizations for other similarly addicted minds. Her goal, or at least the goals of some of her projects, is to humanize visualization and use it as a tool to help people understand the data in their lives. Rock on.

First up was PostHistory, a tool for e-mail users to see their e-mail usage in a new way. She discovered that, despite her efforts to protect privacy, people were thrilled to share what they saw and learned with each other (seeding her above stated goals for visualization).

Next up was a walkthrough of Martin Wattenberg’s NameVoyager, of Internet fame (I’d seen this a dozen times, but so impressed by its consumer styled appeal that I didn’t associate it with “data visualization”) exploring some of the questions raised by the emerging community around the data (takeaway: you’re doing something right when you get normal people to voluntarily spend their free time playing with data).

She ended the talk showing some of the new work she’s doing at IBM, soon to be up and running at The Visual Communication lab website. Of particular note were new ways to help communities form around data, including ways to thumbnail, reference and bookmark particular views, making it easier to share the particular customized visualizations people find when exploring on their own.

-Scott Berkun

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OMFG - We got Linda Stone!


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This morning I had a delightful phone conversation with Linda Stone. (You can also learn more about her from an older bio.) Linda has an extensive history in multimedia design and development, going back to Apple Computer in the 80s, and including Microsoft in the 90s.

Linda has once again achieved prominence with her latest meme, continuous partial attention. It’s a condition of the contemporary information worker — constantly scanning the periphery for newer, potentially more valuable information; subject to distraction; difficulty with focusing on any one thing for any length of time.

Thanks to the miracle of podcasting, you can listen to her presentation on CPA at the Emerging Technology Conference.

I wanted Linda to address our event, because I think the situation she’s identified presents a challenge for designers of complex information spaces — how do we develop systems, environments, and tools that fit within this context of partial attention? I think it does much to set up the discussions that will happen at IDEA, so she has been given the first slot.

In our discussion this morning, she mentioned that her understanding continues to evolve, and this won’t simply be a rehash of her ETech or Supernova talks.

I am very excited!

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