Visualization : It’s ART

iron_man_2_holographics.jpg
Image courtesy: prologue.com

There is a landscape, only blocks away from your house, you pass it by everyday to go to work and yet, it takes a painting you've seen in the flee market to realize: What a beautiful place to be…

Everyday we juggle with hundreds if not thousands of data. We deal with more noise than signals. We get so emerged in the details that we forget the big picture. And then comes a Visual, and like with that painting, it's an aha-moment. We get to see the information with new eyes, we appreciate the data for what it represents, we finally Get it!

Information is beautiful, if only we can visualize it right!

So what makes a visual a work of art? 

"For a visual to qualify as beautiful, it must be aesthetically pleasing, yes, but it must also be novel, informative, and efficient." 

Julie Steele and Noah Lliinsky – Beautiful visualization 

For a visual to be a work of art, it must go beyond being artsy into being efficient, with a clear message and just the right amount information : No noise, no sacrifice. It must make us TICK.

How can we use this art behind the firewall?

I loved an experiment by Twitter engineer Ben Sandofsky where he represents the interactions between developers within twitter's projects. What Ben Fry calls: Organic Information visualization.

And it got me thinking: wouldn't it be great if every knowledge worker can, instead of running some dull reports, visualize the enterprise activity in 3D? Watching an animation of what products are getting bought, exploring customers' patterns, mining employees satisfaction based on their internal blogs… All seem to be great applications of the new Art of visualization.

Platforms such as Processing offer a great opportunity for developers to create innovative visualization and yet Business Intelligence tools don't seem to follow up. Did I miss the note that said everything at work needs to be flat or what?

And as I'm writing these lines, I see this:

Can you see all the possibilities?

Lamia Ben