CIDR is delighted to announce the publication of Information design research and practice, a Gower book published by Routledge. The editors, Alison Black, Paul Luna, Ole Lund and Sue Walker have had the pleasure of working with leading academics and practitioners internationally, and they welcome Erik Spiekermann’s comments in the book’s Foreword:
This book provides 750 (expertly designed) pages to show just how complex and multifaceted the history, the methodology, and the practice of information design are. I am very happy that our discipline has finally come of age and that we now have our own bible to prove it.
Information design research and practice is highly-illustrated in full-colour and contains 49 chapters in four sections: historical perspectives; theoretical approaches; cognitive principles and practical applications.
The Sign Design Society and Information Design Association are organising an evening ‘Talkfest’ in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication on 7 December. Starting at 5 p.m., a tour the Department’s collections will be followed by a series of 10 minute talks, and opportunities for socialising too.
More details can be found at the Sign Design Society’s website.
Jeanne-Louise Moys, third from left, with Penny Mordaunt MP to her right
CIDR member, Jeanne-Louise Moys, met with MP, Penny Mordaunt, Minister for Disabled People, who visited University of Reading yesterday to learn more about the University’s Breaking Down Barriers project. Breaking Down Barriers aims to embed inclusive design in the University’s teaching and learning. Jeanne-Louise brings a focus on access to information to the wide ranging research expertise of the team.
‘The science is hard, the communication is also hard, actually; the policy making is also extremely hard.’ This is how Sir Mark Wallport, summed up the challenge of communicating and decision-making, given the complexity of the science behind weather and climate. He was addressing the PURE (Probability, uncertainty and risk in the environment) Network at a showcase event at the Natural History Museum, on 13 September.
We have been working on one strand of the PURE Network’s activity, RACER (Robust assessment and communication of environmental risk) and produced the quick guide, shown above, to remind people communicating data, particularly probabilistic and uncertain data, of some basic aspects of information design. Survey research carried out with weather and climate scientists while preparing the guide found that, although most respondents were aware of the recommendations in the guide, they said they often failed to follow them. They felt the guide would be useful both as a memory jogger for themselves and for trainee scientists.
The full guide can be downloaded from the PURE Network website.
Alison Black and Sue Walker are chairing a session on Effective information design at the Design Research Society’s 50th anniversary conference in Brighton. The session, on Thursday 30 June, includes papers on topics ranging from data visualisation to the design of apps to support healthcare. Those who are unable to attend the conference can access the papers in the conference proceedings. We’re looking forward to the wide range of papers and events throughout the conference.
Postscript We were delighted by the attendance at the event and our audience’s engaged questions. Sue Walker has also reported on it here.
Last Friday CIDR ran a workshop with the MA Information Design course, investigating the visualisation of natural hazard and meteorological uncertainty information. A fictional design scenario was used for the day, along with a series of mocked-up forecast documents, representing the forecasts on an alien planet for the alien meteorological phenomenon ‘sludge’. The challenges of communicating the uncertainty attached to the sludge forecast were explored though group sketching and discussion. A wide range of ideas were generated, including charts, graphs, and maps, targeted at a selection of different user groups.
The workshop forms part of CIDR’s collaboration on a multidisciplinary research project, RACER, on the communication of the risk and and uncertainty of extreme weather events. We were joined by Kelsey Mulder from the department of Meteorology, who gave a presentation on the meteorological context for uncertainty in weather forecasting.
Alison Black and Matthew Lickiss accompanied colleagues Kelsey Mulder, Andrew Charlton-Perez and Rachel McCloy, from the University of Reading’s Meteorology and Psychology Departments to a workshop on Volcanic Ash Forecasting at the Royal Academy of Engineering. This was part of CIDR’s collaboration on a multidisciplinary research project, RACER, on the communication of the risk and and uncertainty of extreme weather events.
Those who remember the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010 might imagine that both government and the airline industry are keen to have better tools to measure and predict the presence of ash in order to safely manage the impact of future eruptions on air travel.
During the workshop we ran a small study (see illustration), looking at professionals’ responses to some of the different representations of volcanic ash distribution that are available currently. Some of the data from this study are to be presented at the European Geosciences Union 2016 General Assembly in April.
More details of the workshop’s findings can be found here.
Following the video posted last week, we have now uploaded a recording from another session of the Reading to do workshop hosted by CIDR in October 2015 (more information here). As part of the workshop, Professor Michael Twyman led a session showing the historical development of ‘reading to do’ in the 18th–20th centuries. This video is an abridged recording of the session, focusing on the key points of discussion and main examples shown. The talk made extensive use of collections based materials, including a range of tables, handbooks, guidebooks, and catalogues, demonstrating the rich evolution of printed informative text. An additional PDF to accompany the video can be downloaded here, providing higher quality images of some of the main documents shown in the talk.
In October last year CIDR hosted an EU funded workshop, Reading to do. As an introduction to the workshop, each participant brought along examples of printed and electronic documents they had used recently in order to carry out a task or make a decision. This video presents an edited version of participants’ presentations of their documents. The presentations highlight some of the pleasures and frustrations of using information that is provided to support people in everyday tasks.
The lighter side of wayfinding at Cape Point
Andrew Barker will be talking tomorrow at the Sign Design Society. Andrew, who is a book and information designer, is in the final stages of his postgraduate research in the Department of Typography at Reading. His research examines the different processes of navigation in books, on screen and in the 3-dimensional world. He has run a series of studies looking at people’s wayfinding strategies which he will draw on for his talk. It appears not everyone is as responsive to signs as their designers might wish.