At NLogic, we're always looking for new ways to do things better. One area we've been interested in is how to present data in a way that makes it easier to understand and use. To that end, two years ago we started to work with OCAD University's research department with a very broad objective: what techniques or opportunities can we create to better visualize data.
Over time we began to narrow our discussions and experiments into two main streams: User-Centered Design (UCD) and Data-Driven Design (DDD). The main difference between the groups is that the user-centred design group was briefed on how people used the data; the data-driven design group was deliberately kept in the dark. We were interested in seeing what the data 'said' to the DDD group, and whether it led to more effective visualization as a result. Both design processes have led to new ways of looking at the data, with results ranging from small tweaks to existing charts to physical representations of data created with 3D printing. One area we were particularly intrigued by was the concept of using physical blocks to manipulate data on the screen, which we feel could be particularly useful when groups are collaborating on a data-driven project.
We're excited to see where this could take us!
The work with OCAD is ongoing and we're looking for ways to incorporate the learnings into our future products. If you are interested in participating in possible testing of new data tools, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You must be a current client to participate.