In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.
- Shunryu Suzuki
Recently, I was asked for my opinion on a project in which a UX team was trying to represent complex relationships using a specific type of data visualization. I asked whether that type of visualization was the best way to represent the relationships, and why that particular approach had been chosen. The answer: a designer “liked it.” Perhaps not enough foundational thinking had gone into what they were trying to accomplish. I believe UX practitioners, and the growing variety of users working with these kinds of visualizations, need to consider and ask fundamental questions about the full process that determines what data gets collected, stored, processed, and ultimately displayed. Otherwise, they become part of the problem of misinterpreting data rather helping to make it clearer and more meaningful. Sometimes the simplest questions are the most important to ask, especially when designing visualizations for complex data sets.”