Last week we had our biweekly meeting with our project partner Ilona from Oscar Software. The ideas have been sparkling up all the way creating an atmosphere a little bit too hectic, but fortunately our this weeks MVP (most valuable player) team member Aapo came up with the MVP (minimum viable product) chart that he had sketched. That was a beautiful moment of clarity to all of the team members, organizing our thoughts and ideas in a specific order regarding the project. We understood that even though a great part of our project is to create new and crazy ideas, right now it is essential to focus on the concrete prototype and discuss new ideas on the side, and probably, in the end of the project, implement some of the crazy ideas in some sort of way to the prototype. This leaves us the opportunity to start to develop the prototype technically but also the freedom to add our ideas on the go.
As we started to discuss about the concrete visualization, how it literally should look like, one of the questions was, how can we commit the potential users for our tool, to the data we have visualized? Why on earth somebody would like to use our tool? We have to make the visualization better than anybody else and create an UI that is interesting and easy to catch. What kind of starting point would be great? How can we develop a visual concept that attracts most of the users at glance, gives the needed information in a couple of minutes and leaves the info to the users subconscious? Let’s learn from advertisers.
I know, most of the time advertising is quite horrible. There’s still a lot of good advertising techniques and most of the horrible adds are as they are for a reason – you will remember them. So as we don’t want our UI to look horrible, but we want to have as much relevant info as possible in a small space that is easy to absorb, we have to focus on taking ideas for how to visualize the data from the adds that are used in newspapers, bilboards and online banner advertising.
How adds attract people? There are a lot of techniques that advertisers use for required attention, but the most common are shapes, colors, positioning, size and iconicity (we are attracted by images that shake our concept of reality, in other words, when a picture violates reality, it draws our attention very effectively). However, as a part of our project, we are probably going to focus on the shapes, colors, positioning and size. Let’s toss the basic diagrams and graphs to the garbage can and create new concept with more simple and more committing visual shapes!
“Iconicity does not have to entail a complete surface similarity between a picture and reality as long as the picture reproduces visual cues that we use in real world vision. This concept is not confined to just to the content of images but can also be characteristic of their formal or stylistic qualities”