As the overall web content doubles every 72 hours, as infobesity now interferes with every area of our daily lives, priority must be given to a clear, comprehensible overview. It’s about fighting chaos, whether on or offline, simplifying information, structuring it, making it readable. But it’s also about drawing paths, guiding the public throughout this exponentially growing content. These appear as tomorrow’s great challenges. Challenges that only Man can take up, via simplifying designers and guide curators.
- THE GUIDE-CURATOR
How to distinguish noise from its signal? Important information from trivial matters? After a quantity phase where the profusion of information was aggregated and classified, comes a quality phase where content is organized and edited, through the curator, more precisely: content curator. A real guide to the accumulation and its complexity, the curator, acting like a content director, is now taking over the content creator blogger's role.
1. Division vs navigation: in his article ‘The Web is Dead’, Chris Anderson states that applications are soon to replace the all too open and porous Web. These ‘semi-closed universes’ are more structuring, more clear and ergonomic. So many curated services, suited for everyone and every situation. 2. Visual contextualization: Peter Ørntoft, in Information graphics in context, experiments more visual, affordable ways to deliver information. He stages in their context statistics of the Danes’ opinions on wearing religious symbols in public service.
- DESIGNERS OF SIMPLEXITY
“Words divide, pictures unite” was Austrian philosopher and sociologist Otto Neurath’s motto. Together with designer Gerd Arntz in the 20s, they worked on a visual and graphical education method: ISOTYPE. The challenge is now to create a new form of storytelling, targeting more the public’s visual intelligence than its verbal intelligence. A challenge both for professionals of forms, designers simplifiers and graphic designers educators, as well as for professionals of substance: journalists, engineers, developers and scientists.
1. Isotype: International Picture Language, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, complexity stylized: created in 1920 by philosopher Otto Neurath and graphic designer Gerd Arntz, ISOTYPE (International System of TYpographic Picture Education), with more than 5000 signs, icons and pictograms, aims at being simple, universal, non-verbal. 2. Manuel Lima, Visual Complexity : Mapping patterns of Information, a new language: “Several researchers, scientists and designers across the globe are trying to make sense of a variety of complex networks. They employ a mix of colors, symbols, graphics, algorithms and interactivity to advance cognition and deepen knowledge in each subject of analysis. By doing this they are in many ways creating the syntax of a new language.”
EVOLUTION OF VALUES
- UNITASKING, RATHER THAN MULTITASKING
Many researches have pointed out Multitasking (or ‘the ability to handle more than one task at the same time’) as a long-term time loss. Unitasking is now in the rise with new, opposite rules : one thing at a time, and all in due time.
- ORGANIZING THE INFORMATION CHAOS
Just as the new online content curators emerge, tomorrow’s consumers will need filters and guides to complexity, to be able to navigate the uninterrupted flow of information, on and offline, in fields that go well beyond the mere journalistic or cultural informations.
- FROM WORDS TO PICTURES
If curating and selecting information become a necessity, one of tomorrow’s greatest challenges is to keep information readable and represented. Now that awareness grows, visual writing is being reinvented, with the help of modern technologies and delivery methods.
- PLANNING USE
When ‘to simplify’ means integrated selecting, classifying and organising, loosening products and services become guides, true life curators.
1. Internet Buttons by We Are What We Do. Simplifying Internet, Facebook or Skype access with colored, customizable buttons. Creating a clear, reassuring homepage for first-time users. 2. A collection of office accessories in simple block shapes, easily stored anywhere and combined together in a consistent way.
- VISUAL ERGONOMICS
Complex data (legal, medical, administrative...) must be delivered visually, stylized with graphical pedagogical tools to increase their readability, accessibility and visual comfort.
1. Nutritional Information by FFunction: increase the information about nutrition facts, by a Montreal-based company specialized in user interface and data visualization 2. Tenants’ Rights Flash Card by Candy Chang: a fun guide, in a card game form, to make all renters of the State of New York more aware of their rights and to help demystify the law.