Archive for April 2012


Speaking at UXLX on "The Language of Discovery: A Grammar for Designing Big Data Interactions"

April 20th, 2012 — 11:51am

I’ve just con­firmed that I’ll be pre­sent­ing a light­ning talk at this year’s UX Lis­bon, in May — I’m excited!  There’s a great lineup of UX speak­ers, and I’m look­ing for­ward to catch­ing up with the inter­na­tional UX com­mu­nity for the first time since mov­ing back to the U.S.

UX LX Session Page

I’m shar­ing some of the work I’ve been doing at Endeca / Ora­cle, around the ques­tion of inter­ac­tion and sense mak­ing for the emerg­ing cat­e­gory of big data.  This is a UX ques­tion I don’t think is on the radar of many prac­ti­tion­ers.  And for those who are encoun­ter­ing it, the fram­ings I see for how to engage with this from the UX per­spec­tive are scat­tered and — frankly — small.  They tend to focus on the specifics of visu­al­iza­tion, and miss the larger pic­ture of how peo­ple engage in dis­cov­ery tasks and activ­i­ties every day, on small and large scales. If you’ve fol­lowed my work on other emerg­ing inter­ac­tion UX and inter­ac­tion spaces like enter­prise appli­ca­tions, games, mobile, social net­works, and — before I returned to my roots in mak­ing prod­ucts in a startup con­text — aug­mented real­ity, it’s easy to see I’m inter­ested in the deep struc­ture of new inter­ac­tion spaces, and I think a forward-looking per­spec­tive on the broad and fun­da­men­tal con­cep­tual frame of ref­er­ence for such new spaces is essen­tial for any­one who intends to work in them in a seri­ous and impact­ful fash­ion. So con­sider this talk an intro­duc­tion to the pack­age of ideas about tech­nol­ogy, inter­ac­tion, prod­ucts, and their dis­cov­ery aspects that I refer to as of the “Age of Insight” — the era in which every­one dis­cov­ers, and every­thing is discoverable.

The 2012 UXLX pro­gram is online, the talk is titled The Lan­guage of Dis­cov­ery: A Gram­mar for Design­ing Big Data Inter­ac­tions, and the ses­sion descrip­tion is below.

I hope to see a good mix of famil­iar and new faces at this grow­ing event.  Thanks to the orga­niz­ers for includ­ing me in the program!

The Lan­guage of Dis­cov­ery: A Gram­mar for Design­ing Big Data Interactions

The oncom­ing tidal wave of Big Data, with its rapidly evolv­ing ecosys­tem of multi-channel infor­ma­tion sat­u­rated envi­ron­ments and ser­vices, brings pro­found chal­lenges and oppor­tu­ni­ties for the design of effec­tive user experiences.

Look­ing deeper than the cel­e­bra­tory rhetoric of infor­ma­tion quan­tity, at its core, Big Data makes pos­si­ble unprece­dented aware­ness and insight into every sphere of life; from busi­ness and pol­i­tics, to the envi­ron­ment, arts and soci­ety. In this com­ing Age of Insight, ‘dis­cov­ery’ is not only the purview of spe­cial­ized Data Sci­en­tists who cre­ate exotic visu­al­iza­tions of mas­sive data sets, it is a fun­da­men­tal cat­e­gory of human activ­ity that is essen­tial to every­day inter­ac­tions between peo­ple, resources, and environments.

To pro­vide archi­tects and design­ers with an effec­tive start­ing point for cre­at­ing sat­is­fy­ing and rel­e­vant user expe­ri­ences that rely on dis­cov­ery inter­ac­tions, this ses­sion presents a sim­ple ana­lyt­i­cal and gen­er­a­tive toolkit for under­stand­ing how peo­ple con­duct the broad range of dis­cov­ery activ­i­ties nec­es­sary in the information-permeated world.

Specif­i­cally, this ses­sion will present:

  • A sim­ple, research-derived lan­guage for describ­ing dis­cov­ery needs and activ­i­ties that spans domains, envi­ron­ments, media, and personas
  • Observed and reusable pat­terns of dis­cov­ery activ­i­ties in indi­vid­ual and col­lab­o­ra­tive settings
  • Exam­ples of the archi­tec­ture of suc­cess­ful dis­cov­ery expe­ri­ences at small and large scales
  • A vocab­u­lary and per­spec­tive for dis­cov­ery as a crit­i­cal indi­vid­ual and orga­ni­za­tional capability
  • Lead­ing edge exam­ples from the rapidly emerg­ing space of applied discovery
  • Design futures and con­cepts explor­ing the pos­si­ble evo­lu­tion paths of dis­cov­ery interactions

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