So here’s the requisite final post (referred to in class as the ‘visual journal’) of the Spring 2011 semester for IST 600-Information Design. This course affected me on so many levels that it is hard to isolate one ‘aha’ or epiphanic moment. I was touched mentally and physically, socially and emotionally and had an unexpected exploration of self.
I entered the course thinking it was going to (hoping to) be about making pretty pictures (infographics) out of data. I envisioned completing the class with a portfolio of subtly colored maps and quirky graphics telling stories about historic facts overlaid with Web 4.0 graphics. While I did get to create some of those visual chefs-d’oeuvre, there was a lot more to the class than pretty graphics.
There was the:
Academic – Theories and writing of Vannevar Bush, Tim Berners-Lee and challenging the concept of ‘what is information?’
Artistic – the pretty pictures I tried to make (which are a lot harder to make than I ever thought)
Mind bending(ness) – visual and statistical thinking, visualizing sound
Practical – Field studies and field reports (aka creative briefs)
Applicable – Paper prototyping, Illustrator, and InDesign
Ultimately, this course was a tool that enabled a deep exploration of the user, the motivations of the user, the struggles of the user and the freedom and clarity the user needs to function and thrive in an information environment.
Everyone should take this class.