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Improving the Visual Communication of Complex Information in the Health Sector

01 Oct 2009-
TL;DR: The following stages for improving the creation of mappings are identified: 1) Multidisciplinary work teams 2) Organisation of information in a regular and systematic way 3) Adoption of a design method.
Abstract: The representation of complex information, whether scientific or from other areas, is being adapted for clearer understandings of, for example, how to obtain a better service or how to learn about specialized knowledge easily. Some authors (Zender and Crutcher, 2007) suggest the need of new tools to find a better solution to communicate those complex contents. In the recent years, mapping has become a way of making sense of things, with diagrams being an often used and effective visual tool for representing complex information. Mapping has been adopted to represent all kind of non-geographic narratives, from scientific projects to medical explanations (Owen, 2002). As part of a PhD research project we have identified the following stages for improving the creation of mappings: 1) Multidisciplinary work teams 2) Organisation of information in a regular and systematic way 3) Adoption of a design method
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Journal Article
TL;DR: Why design methods seem to remain a contested possibility in the field is explored and it is argued that developing methods that ace explicit, useful and whose efficacy can be measured is essential for the development of design as a discipline.
Abstract: Methods still attract both confusion and dissension in design. "Design" and "method" ace defined in order to carefully locate meaning in the following discussion. A brief reflection on the history of design methods, precedes reasons for supporting this investigation and reasons resistant to such work. An analogy is drawn to other domains such as thermodynamics, now thoroughly established with a useful body of knowledge, that originally soffered from the resistance of practitioners to codification of knowledge about the domain. An anatomy of method is offered that describes its key features and indicates possible areas for generation of new or improved method, given the changing context of design performance. The essay argues that developing methods that ace explicit, useful and whose efficacy can be measured is essential for the development of design as a discipline. Do you know one? A design methodologist, I mean. You know, a professional or academic who is concerned with how design is done in addition to doing design. Do you know of anyone who makes a conscious act to select a particular approach to working through a design problem? By this time in the development of the discipline, most designers should have a thorough education in design methods and apply them regularly in practice. There were a good number of methodologists in the 1960's representing numerous design disciplines including architecture, product design, city planning and others. Yet, the discussion at the 2003 2byTwo Conference gave the impression that design methodology is still just emerging or at least that it remains on the periphery of academia and practice. Have design methods skipped a generation? Has the postmodern backlash to modernism submerged methods along with high modern expression? Has technological support for design processes cheapened thinking? Attendees in the conference session on methods were there to present their current experiments with methods, how they taught methodology and to just see what was going on in design methods today. For someone who has been immersed in the development, practice and rhetoric of design methods for over fifteen years, the state of affairs, as much as it could be characterized by the interactions at the 2byTwo symposium, was certainly striking. In this paper, I attempt to explore why design methods seem to remain a contested possibility in the field. I draw on some history, look critically at the culture of design and seek analogies from other fields. My ultimate goal is to break down some of the apparent barriers and misconceptions about design methods and sketch out potential ways of encouraging their development and adoption as a normal part of design research and practice. Definitions There are two important definitions with which to begin. They are "design" and "method." I use the term "design" in this paper in much the same way as Herbert Simon who I paraphrase here: "Design is devising courses of action aimed at turning existing situations into preferred ones" (Simon, 1996). Design, as it is used herein, is intentionally broad and encompasses any discipline whose goal is to create new artifacts and systems. The particular fields of design that are normally implied by the attendees of the 2byTwo symposium and perhaps by readers of Visible Language are design fields generally interested in visual solutions that mediate the relationship between artifact and human user: communication design, information design and industrial design. Throughout the paper, the term "human-centered design" or HCD will be used when referring to the fields of communication, graphic, product and environmental design. Design will be used in its much broader sense. The definition for "method" is: "A means or manner of procedure, especially a regular and systematic way of accomplishing something." Methodology means: "A body of practices, procedures and rules used by those who work in a discipline or engage in an inquiry; a set of working methods" (American Heritage® Dictionary, 2002). …

9 citations

Journal Article
TL;DR: This paper describes the initial exploration of a visual language approach to the display of concepts found in published scientific papers: in this case, some hypotheses surrounding the etiology of Alzheimer's Disease.
Abstract: The accelerating rate of data generation and resulting publications are taxing the ability of scientific investigators to stay current with the emerging literature This problem, acute in science, is not uncommon in other areas New approaches to managing this explosion of information are needed While it is only possible to read one paper or abstract at a time, it is possible to grasp concepts presented visually in milliseconds This suggests the possibility of developing a visual language to represent concepts from a multitude of published papers in an accurate display that is highly condensed, yet readable in seconds This paper describes the initial exploration of a visual language approach to the display of concepts found in published scientific papers: in this case, some hypotheses surrounding the etiology of Alzheimer's Disease The approach is based on deriving propositions from papers or abstracts, breaking propositions into concept objects, designing a visual object system (consisting of icons, signs, glyphs and combinations) to represent all the objects in the relevant concept space, displaying the objects as a networked constellation and linking the visual display back to the papers from which they came The ultimate goal is to develop visual language techniques capable of revealing patterns, pathways and conceptual connections not readily apparent from text-based list of findings and using such visual language to make interactive displays that accurately represent large quantities of data in a condensed conceptual form Such an approach has potential application to any field of study that has a controlled vocabulary FACETS OF A PROBLEM You can see a lot Thanks to the computer and the Internet, there is a lot more to see, read and com Drehend than ever before According to Lyman and Varian, in the year 2000 the world produced between one and two exabytes (a billion gigabytes) of unique information, about 250 megabytes for every man woman and child on earth (Lyman and Varian, 2000) By 2003 this was five exabytes annually Those leading the pursuit of specialized knowledge, whether in science or other areas, are also on the forefront of dealing with this growth of information in dramatic ways In science, the primary source of new information is peer-reviewed papers and abstracts published in specialized journals In the area of medical research, the National Library of Medicine manages an online resource known as PubMed that currently hosts over 12,000,000 journal articles Users can type a text query and retrieve all of the relevant references (with abstracts) based on key words A recent (10/24/06) PubMed query using "Alzheimer*" as the search term, for example, returned 54,430 citations The rate at which the literature in this field has increased during the lifetime of one of us (KAC) is shown in the accompanying chart (figure 1) Let's imagine that a new investigator wants to become familiar with this literature At fifteen minutes per paper, it would take seven years of reading to get through all 54,000 - allowing for eight hours of reading per day with time off for weekends, holidays and vacations! To master the literature in the area of Alzheimer's Disease, however, would also require reading new papers, which are currently published at a rate close to 5,000 per year By the time the investigator had finished reading what is available today, the new stack of unread papers would be 35,000 (assuming no further increase in the number of papers per year) Yet staying abreast of what is happening in their field is exactly what scientists are expected to do Clearly, reading every paper is not viable This constant growth in information, acute in medicine and science, also occurs in other fields As if this explosion of data was not problem enough, biological systems have inherent complexity and relevant data come from various fields of study and various levels of analysis, ranging from atoms to populations …

5 citations


"Improving the Visual Communication ..." refers background in this paper

  • ...Some authors (Zender and Crutcher, 2007) suggest the need of new tools to find a better solution to communicate those complex contents....

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