Experience Design (3/8) - by Nathan Shedroff
Presentation & Organization
One of the most difficult concepts for designers to understand is that the presentation (the appearance) of an experience or design is separate from its organization. Often, these are so tightly coupled or so commonly combined that we can't imagine a particular organization presented any other way (geographic information, for example, presented as maps). However, the most common ways aren't always the most successful.
Any organization can mostly be presented in a variety of ways. Textual data (words or numbers) can be presented in writing (such as a description), visually (as in any of a variety of charts), aurally (as in live or recorded speaking), etc. For example, even map data can be presented in all of these ways. Consider driving directions to a house. The organization itself of the data will most likely be time and location (specifically, locations over time in an efficient route). However, these directions can be written into a descriptive paragraph, listed in a bullet list, charted as a map in any of a variety of forms and projections, or recorded in sequence as an audio tape to played in realtime.
Often, the presentation itself affects our understanding so much that we can misunderstand or misinterpret the data. This is often the case with political or legal presentations in which it is more important to the presentation creators to incite a particular opinion than it is to be accurate. This is how propaganda and disinformation are formed. Unfortunately, it's also the outcome of most visual design works since most designers value visual style and appearance over understanding and accuracy (whether they realize it or not). While designers are supposed to bring something new and unique to the design process-often something unexpected or previously considered unrelated-sometimes these inspirational elements really aren't appropriate or are implemented in a way that obscures everything but the style.
- Introduction: Elements of Experience Design
- Presentation & Organization
- Visualization & Design
- Designing the Total Experience
Revised: June 21, 2001
Created: June 21, 2001