Data management involves the classification, storability, retrievability, share-ability, and the generation of information across multiple platforms (print, web, mobile, etc.) that represent the gist or essence of “valuable, compelling, and empowering” physical and/or digital user experiences.
In 1999, Nathan Shedroff asked: “How do we as designers create meaningful experiences and interactions for others?” (Shedroff; 1999:288). He introduced the importance of Information Interaction Design as the design of information for contextual user-centric interaction. According to Shedroff, emerging trends in information processing of designed products and experiences include: “information overload, information anxiety, media literacy, media immersion, and technological overload.” (Shedroff; 1999:267) Those, in turn, define the focus of HCI and the practice of Information Interaction Design.
[W]hat most of us deal with everyday […] is not information. It is merely data.” (Shedroff; 1999:270)
The design of data must address the in-forming condition of information; that is, how it communicates in its form by turning data into meaningful and useful content with a servicing intent and contextually thoughtful point of view.
Shedroff maps 3 disciplines as comprised in the practice of Information Interaction Design: “information design, interaction design, and sensorial design.” (Shedroff; 1999:268) Information design makes information valuable and interaction meaningful by way of organizing and framing data for its appropriate audience. Interaction design represents storytelling through interactional platforms (performance, print, digital, etc.) that identify with target user requirements. Finally, sensorial design addresses the psychographic and cognitive needs of users by understanding how design affects the senses (vision, touch, smell, sound) and how it might enrich emotional aspects of user experiences. Information Interaction design, then, seeks to provide efficient and memorable experiences for users within the boundaries of information design, interaction design, and sensorial design according to predetermined or emerging user requirements (needs, abilities, desires, and expectations).
Because the design of data informs the creation of participatory, integrated, and resourceful experiences, Information Interaction Design provides active experiences of knowledge that are interactive, persuasive, efficient, and effective. Shedroff describes wisdom as a “metalanguage”; which is to say that wisdom is an exploration of knowledge and a continuous synthesis of acquired, preconceived and experiential knowledge. The knowledge of knowing reaffirms itself in one’s ongoing rewiring of his/her thought patterns in light of newly established perceptual understandings. Design of data encourages the discovery of new knowledge through meaningful patterns and experiences.
Wisdom is a kind of metaknowledge, a blending of all the processes and relationships understood through experience.” (Shedroff; 1999:273)
Successful interactive systems are first and foremost designed to allow users to discover and learn from information, as well as to interact and control data outcomes through visual feedback. Those systems may be described as engineered to adapt, evolve, and self-sustain overtime as they enable users to populate content and provides them with the virtual freedom to co-create. In a sense, users become producers of their own interactive experiences.
Some important points to consider when designing data-driven interactive experiences:
1) How design organizes and packages information to its audience determines how information is expressed and perceived and what types of values one might assign to the overall patterns or messages.
2) Metaphoric interpretations and explanations of data may render data inaccurate in its appeal to cognitive and structural understanding of its audience.
3) Interaction design helps transform data into an interactive storytelling.
4) Systems can be tailored to allow user input and provide partial user-control.
Shedroff, Nathan. “Information Interaction Design: A Unified Field Theory of Design” Information Design. Jacobson, Robert (Ed.). MIT Press, Massachussets: 1999, pp. 267-292