UX Design & Research
I am a user experience designer and researcher focusing in data visualization. I have a love for “text analytics” visualization or visually summarizing millions of documents. As a designer in this non-traditional design field, my goal is help create new visual paradigms that bring users to this new frontier in a comfortable, beautiful vehicle… all while supporting their primary tasks. Having a background in user research, I employ user-centered methodologies to motivate, justify and guide the product direction. As design is a shared, highly negotiated artifact of a team effort, I help a design come to life through incorporating the best ideas and allowing it to constantly evolve. I am motivated by working on high impact projects with witty people.
My principles of visualization design
1. Enable conversations
As humans, we do not understand one another because we are master manipulators of a shared language. Rather, we come to true understandings when we question, interrogate and aim to share a common language. Through a user’s conversation with a visualization, the visualization should be malleable and morph based on the user’s view of the world rather than showing a static, read-only view of the world.
2. Create a Layered, Data Playground
Visualizations can be overwhelming—especially when we encode all that we know into a single graphic or image. Just as visual design and layout may have a visual hierarchy, visualization design may hold the same hierarchy. Allow the most important encodings, as identified by the use case to come to the surface and progressively disclose other details on demand as the user engages.
3. Truth is not ours
As a designer dealing with text-based data, I believe in creating an interactive spatial layout where the user can discover her truth within her own data. It is not our responsibility to tell the user “the truth” as we cannot presume we know her truth. Rather, as designers, we encode, we emphasize, and we allow data to be progressively disclosed. As users come with their own subject matter expertise, their own taxonomies, and their knowledge of the world, we shall only present what we know and not assert her truth.
4. Make work fun again
Filling out forms, copying and pasting, and creating formulas can be tedious and boring. Visualization should put users in the data driver’s seat. They go from weaving data stories vicariously to digitally weaving data stories. This “hands on” nature of work should feel engaging, cool, and new. It should feel like satisfying and engaging work that borders on fun.
5. Surface Stories, Not Numbers
Quantitative data gives us confidence, but stories give us context and are more memorable. As a visualization designer, we must enable our users to generate these engaging stories, while having the data to back them up. The complete picture helps users provide context and justify their recommendations.