"Information Design" is a new name
for a family of older separate practices. Under one professional
name, it brings together elements of...
- the drive for readability and plain language
in a diverse society,
- effective graphic communications such as
highway signs and hazard warnings,
- usability testing of interfaces, websites,
systems, and "Knowledge Media,"
- Human Factors of displays and control panels,
- from law, current emphasis on the absolute
liability of developers to ensure that ordinary people correctly
understand their texts, software interfaces, websites, contracts,
instructions, warnings, and information-feedouts of all kinds
Is it Art or Science?
The communication of information including
information visualization is different from creative writing or
graphic treatment. While always needing a measure of creative,
artistic, and editorial guidance, the basic issue remains: do
people correctly get the message? Was the message the "receiver"
got the same as the message the "transmitter" intended?
To devise successful communication, choices
need to be made as to text or content, selection of media, and,
most important of all, confirmation through objective behavioral
testing that users - sometimes little kids - accurately and rapidly
comprehend the message.
Where can the principals of information
design be applied?
Over more than two decades of consulting, BTeam
has developed, tested, and otherwise enhanced the effectiveness
of communications in:
- retail, financial, and other commercial sectors,
- wayfinding in buildings, parks, websites,
highways, and hospitals,
- museums and cultural institutions,
- training programs, user manuals, and texts
of many sorts,
- military settings on land, sea, and in the
- critical applications such as nuclear power
plants and air traffic control,
- hazardous circumstances for ordinary people
such as weather warnings - and for daily weather forecasts -
and industrial settings, even electrocution warning picture-signs
for "pre-literate" kids,
- government programs, driver licensing, and
- and of course, software applications and
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