Exploring Qualitative Displays and Interfaces – Architectures


Dan Lockton,
May 10, 2017


“Much of how we construct meaning in the real world is qualitative rather than quantitative,” writes Dan Lockton, “Yet, quantification has become a default mode for information display, and for interfaces supporting decision-making and behaviour change.” Her’s right on both counts, and this article illustrates part of the reason why. It’s not exactly easy to create a qualitative interface, though he offers a number of intuitive examples: the movement of water as an indicator of acceleration, the swirling of leaves as a wind indicator, or wind socks. How would our understanding of learning and performance data change if we used qualitative indicators? If, for example, we could see skills development, rather than simply measuring them? Related: Design students explore landscape as a metaphor.
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