Stephen Anderson – Deciphering Data through Design

Understanding problems are common when trying to visualize data. Designing a layout to effectively communicate complex or even simple data can be a challenge. If the visualization isn’t immediately apparent to a user, it requires a level of understanding to get the most out of their experience.

Stephen Anderson has been working to unlock these understanding problems. He says that oftentimes really simple changes can have dramatic effects on a user’s ability to interpret data. He cites the many examples of designers taking stabs at airline boarding pass redesigns and the evolution Target’s Pharmacy prescription bottle went through. Presenting the information in a much clearer way reduces the cognitive barrier.

In this podcast with Jared Spool, Stephen outlines what he calls the 7 Problems of Understanding. These range from problems of comprehension to problems of discovery and more. Each of these problems is usually brought about by a design or display decision. Looking further at these issues, simple changes can greatly increase the experience for users.

Stephen will be presenting one of 8 daylong workshop choices at the User Interface 19 Conference, October 27-29 in Boston. For more information on the workshops and the conference, visit uiconf.com.

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