Somewhere I have never travelled

This presentation by Brendan Dawes – (powered by WordPress)

Brendan quite into data – “data porn” – visualising data. Saying that much of the web is still designed as if it’s in print.

Making ‘weird creatures’ out of keywords – ‘creatures’ size indicates popularity, speed they move depends on age – but this stuff doesn’t come with an instruction manual – there is nowhere that these links between data and behaviour is documented for the ‘end user’ – but just putting it out there, and trying it out.

‘Interfaces’ are important – Brendan likes to collect ideas in ‘Field Notes’ books – Also has a firewire drive full of ‘doodles’ as his ‘digital notebook’ – just bits and pieces of stuff that may do one thing – e.g. a drawing app, that allows you to draw things in black ink – that sat there for ages, he did nothing with it. Then had an idea that he wanted to be able put stuff on lines that he had drawn – found something that someone else had done online – and he had put that on his digital notebook.

Brendan wanted to do something

(aside – When you design stuff for people, avoid colours – as people can dump a perfectly good idea if you’ve done it in the wrong colour! Use black and white, because it doesn’t upset anyone 🙂

What would happen if we removed interfaces completely? Allowed people to build their own interface?

So – all of these bits and pieces came together as – allows you to do a search – then you draw a line to see the results displayed.

Memoryshare – a BBC project to share memories. Original version had a rather dull interface – didn’t engage people, so not very good usage – although the content is very compelling when you start reading. Brendan and team did a range of prototypes – very open brief – basically do anything you want.

Took ideas done with the Daylife example – displaying time based events on a spiral line – great ‘wow’ moment when you see the spiral on the screen, and then as you zoom in it becomes obvious that it is a 3d environment – very, very pretty! Original demo was in Flash, which couldn’t cope with the amount of data in memoryshare – but the BBC really liked design, so figured out how to do it – see the results at – compare this to the old design at the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

Brendan now moving onto using data to produce physical objects – mentioned a site I didn’t get (Update: thanks to @nicoleharris got this now that allows you to upload a design and get it made – so for example Brendan has had some wooden luggage tags made with data displayed on them. has an API – you can pump data in and get physical objects out. Brendan has written something that takes data from and pushes to to make cards – transfers transient digital data into less transient physical data

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