All Data Bright and Beautiful


As we get closer to Windows 8 General availability, I want to occasionally post things or ideas that I think can help designers and developers better understand Metro; and honestly things that I find cool. Last time it was about Wayfinding, this time its Data Visualization.

Every since  the first time I saw Microsoft’s 2019 video; and the way it showed people directly manipulating Natural User Interfaces (NUIs) with information and interacting with figures and numbers as the UI itself; I knew that was the type of computing I wanted. It wasn’t the After Effects FX (they were nice), it was the idea that you could make a more intimate type of computer experience. I can enter a number or some new data point and that would shift everything I saw; and I could mess with it by touching. Beautiful Data I called it. Now all the video was showing was the Information Visualization (representing data in a visual form) people do now and taking it to that next step.

For every pundit, blogger, and journalist that sees tablets and touch as the future of computing, there is many who see it as a toy. Ask any IT professional, hardcore PC gamer, or keyboard and mouser; tablets are not for real computing. And in many ways they are right. For heavy computing use or computational endeavors tablets aren’t. However everyday tablets are becoming more and more like the desktop, just instead of the mouse we use the finger.


Data Visualization is this interesting intersection of design and technology. It takes our natural inclination for visual understanding and uses it to display complex relationships and numbers. Now the images and videos in this post are about showing examples. Now one aspect of this is Interactive visualization; where a user can actually interact, navigate, and explore data.

For every person wondering how a tablet could be useful in the business world I give you Interactive visualization as an example. See I think that if you want to make tablets really useful, you can’t force them to be what they are not.  


Now from my limited view space (n00b), this is the type of design I wish developers would work with the Semantic Zoom aspect of Windows 8. I also think Data visualization is an example of the ideas of both Digital authenticity and content over Chrome. Basically, its about making information the thing you interact with other than a button; its about letting the information and context be primary determinants in what a users sees and does. Right now what I see is a lot of designers taking what they’ve seen on iOS and Android and the Desktop and simply trying to redo it in Metro. This is just wrong.



Peter Jeffs and Tom Stevenson

Web Design Ledger




Information Is Beautiful


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