Cambridge University Design / UX group

More good talks

Here we go – two more upcoming talks in Cambridge, and a video of a great talk Jeffrey Veen gave recently.
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Computational Information Design write-up

Ben Fry – Computational Information Design

Making sense of huge datasets! (Microsoft Research, Cambridge, 23.04.2009)

Well, that was a pretty impressive talk. Visualising the information contained within massive sets of data is a big challenege, and something that researchers in a range of fields face every day. Designers can help to bridge the gap between aesthetics and functionality, and help make information usable.

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Ben Fry – “Exploring the role of visualisation in research”

A bit last minute, but Ben Fry is giving a talk over at Microsoft Research (on JJ Thompson Ave, just off Madingley Rd… you can take the Uni 4 bus there) this Thursday, at 11am. The large lecture theatre there has 126 seats, so lots of space – no need to register, I am assured: just turn up.

I think this talk is part of the Joined-Up Ecology seminar, which is running this week. From the abstract, this talk looks really interesting, and although it doesn’t mention ecology, it does mention data visualisation, design, and bringing together disparate approaches…
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Simple data visualisation with CSS – improve user experience

For the main project I work on, my boss, a Prof in the Dept of Earth Sciences, writes an article, or ‘Topic’, about the subject he is interested in, and this Topic is added to one or more Categories. The whole lot, plus all the relationships, is stored in a database, and those data are used to generate content for a website. This is exactly the same concept as me writing a post on this blog, and then adding it to the ‘Tips’ category.data_viz_screengrab

I’ve been playing around with simple graphical representations of the data, initially just using CSS techniques. I thought that some of you might find it handy so see how it is done.

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“Information Visualization for Knowledge Discovery”

Professor Ben Schneiderman speaking at Microsoft Research Cambridge, March 5th, 2009.

Here’s a bit of background: http://www.ukupa.org.uk/cambridge/archives/000627.html

The audience at Ben Schneiderman's talk

The audience at Ben Schneiderman's talk (photo {cc} from Tim Regan's photostream, Flickr)

I was lucky to have been quick-off-the-mark, and get my name down to go to this talk, since it sold out very quickly, apparently. I say sold out, but by some miracle of sponsorship or goodwill, it was entirely free! Lucky us. I found it very engaging, and it gave me lots to think about. And I spell visualisation with an “s”, OK? It just doesn’t seem right with a “z”!

I was able to scribble down a few notes and interesting quotes, and if anything, they might be enough to encourage you to go off and read more about the subject. How it all applies to your web site / app / interface / whatever… well, that’s up to you to think about!  🙂

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