Wiki Definition:

Informative Design

In the context of this site, Informative Design refers to the process of designing visual interfaces, graphics, diagrams and references to quickly convey maximum information rather than just maximum data.

As a conceptual illustration, consider the front panel of a piece of medical monitoring equipment. Typically these are complex arrangements of different coloured lights, buttons and indicators with labels such as CO2, mils/hr or bpm. Effectively deciphering and using the displayed data requires both previous experience (usually with that particular make and model) and some significant expertise in the subject area. However, when it starts beeping loudly in an emergency, there must be some way to design that interface such that even a novice could almost instantaneously understand what the problem is and what needs to be done first.

My personal interest is mainly with user interfaces and graphical displays within building analysis software. These often have to deal with pretty complex and esoteric data, yet is it still possible for them to be intuitive and immediately obvious to the casual user?

Relevance to this Site

The concept of informative design is of particular interest to the author of this site. As a result, posts on this topic typically fall under the following broad categories:

  • Data Visualisation
    How to graphically represent complex performative design data in ways that are visually meaningful and communicative.
  • User Interface Design
    My investigations in the design of computer applications, interface elements, graphical displays and integrated help systems to maximise useability whilst minimising training/documentation demands.
  • Educational Materials
    Using new technologies to create highly visual and interactive web-based teaching and learning material.
  • Web Development
    More technical discussions about content management systems (CMS), PHP, databases, embedded media, dynamic HTML and AJAX technologies.

Notes: Learn by doing, understanding and education embedded within the interfaces and workflows themselves, etc. This is discussed on more detail within its wiki definition.

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