information

Search: from tool to content platform

There is a shift happening in search. In my last post, I tried to make the case that web content is becoming more decentralized, with aggregators (RSS readers, search engines, and social networks) playing an increasingly large role for the way that we absorb information online, and that this tendency presents new opportunities for the design of information. With this decentralization (or centralization, depending on your perspective), search engines themselves are changing from navigational tools to content platforms.

read the rest of this entry

Design and the decentralization of web content

Websites are the predominant platform for most of the information we absorb. Of course, the site itself isn’t always the primary vehicle, with RSS having established itself as an alternate form of consumption, and search engines offering a similar yet broader form of aggregation. This has lead to two main content experiences. In one mode, content is presented in context of the full offering, as part of a structural framework reflecting the identity of the source. In the other, content is represented generically and modularly alongside content from other sources.

read the rest of this entry

Observations on media and site

As sited media becomes more pervasive, it is also increasingly seamless. Integrated with architecture, it no longer appears as a singular anomaly or product, and instead as an interpretive layer—draped over the physical landscape and augmenting our experience of the concrete and tangible. Unlike location-aware mobile media, sited media has the potential to not merely reference, but rather create places.

read the rest of this entry

The authority of formlessness / 1 comment

Lebbeus Woods, Same Difference

Lebbeus Woods, Same Difference

Form inevitably creates narrative, disclosing the intent and the hand of the author. Whether linear or non-linear, any narrative contains a particular point of view. On the other hand, formlessness allows for unencumbered individual interpretation. I think of formlessness in its purest state as randomness. The only true opposition to structure, it gives equal importance to each structural entity. It is the only truly democratic (objective) view of information.

read the rest of this entry

The hypothesis in visualization

Josh On, They Rule

Josh On, They Rule

All visualization begins with a hypothesis, a hypothesis about the data that the choice of a particular formal expression aims to address. As previously determined, visualization is an expressive medium, and as such aims to communicate abstract ideas through the use of data. Any successful visualization, therefore, allows drawing conclusions about the underlying data. These conclusions, while often revealing or surprising even for the author of the piece, are nonetheless driven by a particular hypothesis—a hypothesis as general as simply selecting a topic or a particular type or range of data from within a certain context, with the anticipation of usefulness or insight, or as specific as setting out to prove or disprove a claim based on the characteristics of the data source.

read the rest of this entry

elsewhere