So I was reading through my google reader feeds, and came across this gem over at Functioning Form.
The post came out of the recent conference VizThink which has this example.
I think that this example is very compelling as both represent some kind of fact, or statistic (reminds me of Mark Twain’s quote on stats) but it is presented visually in such a way that it totally changes the way the viewer perceives those facts. On the right we tend to see polarization & division, while on the left we see a more balanced representation of facts.
Just as computer systems embed values, so do User Interfaces and anything visual. This isn’t exactly groundbreaking news, but I thought it would be worth sharing.
The kinds of values we embed into systems as designers should be carefully chosen, and not haphazardly done. The metaphors chosen in any given interaction will open up certain spaces for action and tend to close others.
I think that often in games the iconography chosen is very engineering and object oriented. What I’m saying is that so much about the interface is just about doing, without giving any idea about what that kind of action will bring. The example that springs to mind is cursor usage in WoW. When you mouse over an item to be picked up or used, whatever it may be from a chest, to a chair, to picking up sunken artifacts in a marsh, a gear appears. You can “do” something with it. This gear conveys nothing about the consequences of your action. Perhaps in some cases that is a good thing. What are the other ways we can re-imagine a game interface? What are the values in them?