Making sense of an infinitely complex world through pictures is not new — Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man allowed a viewer to intimately understand the proportion of the human body within a single, elegant diagram. Yet outside the realm of academia and science journals, we’ve now found our species plunged into the endless depths of data living through the information age. The sheer vastness of what is collected is hard to grasp, and so the imperative that surfaces is for our feeble human brains to make sense of it all — to find stories and create tools so that we may harness it and make ever-wiser, ever-informed decisions.
This is where designers and the design of data comes to the fore: As a facilitator through thoughtful images and storytelling. Being equipped to handle the complexity of data — its scale, unpredictability and connections is a critical new skill. “Data” is a loaded term, it’s used to describe anything from a digital application’s fundamental atoms to rich visualizations. This lesson will prime you on the essential characteristics of data, and how you can approach telling a story for your users.