Well, what can I say: there is a lot that can be learned from cinema which also applies to presentation design, even when things don’t move. Personally I very much propose that you also do invest a little time to learn about animation if you are serious about presentation design. Nothing says “change of state” like a visual representation that actually changes state. Transformation. From here to there. The works.
As soon as time allows I’ll surely revisit the matter in more detail. Until then, the link points you to an article that contains a few really helpful hints to get you started.
You may remember that we are still waiting for visual.ly to open their lab and release the kraken. Erm, I meant their creation tool. Well, here’s a working alternative for you to check out. It’s free, too.
I’ve seen some of the results embedded on German news sites and they looked decent enough. The tool creates solid charts and graphs, not so much flashy infoposters, just so we’re clear. Have fun.
The scientific literature mentioning politeness is generally dominated by contributions from a rather select subset of linguists. From Lakoff’s analysis of gender mandated speech patterns (Lakoff 1973)1 to the de-facto standard of politeness research put forward by Brown and Levinson (Brown&Levinson 1982)2 it is the scientific discourse that built upon their work that has the greatest impact in citations by a large margin. Politeness research, it seems, can still mostly be attributed to the field of pragmatics and in some respects to that of sociolinguistics.3
Such narrow range of influence is not without problems. Lack of sociocultural perspective notwithstanding, chances are that even within the linguistic domain the notion of of politeness as defined in mainstream theories fails to account for the range of uses with which speakers employ honorifics and other signifiers of politeness. It also should be noted that by subsuming certain speech patterns and linguistic choices under a framework of politeness one already discards potential alternative approaches to explain the same phenomena.
“You can take any language. Take English for example…”—This sentence sums up so much of what is wrong in social and cognitive sciences or even life in general, it has become a standard joke among non-native English speaking linguists.
Knowledge Representation, Mental Models and Barsalou Frames
It’s a regrettable but undeniable fact of life that specialist knowledge hardly ever disseminates from one field to another. Innovation largely comes from those rare occasions when it does.
Recently I was researching some psychological concepts that are used in interaction design and I noticed how mental models are represented in flow charts1 to explain the way users understand a given interface. Some of these charts were eerily familiar, yet I could find no mention of another psychological concept that I feel would amend the theory of mental models:
Frames, in Barsalou’s sense, are recursive attribute-value structures. While frames can be used to implement individual and sortal concepts, their attributes can themselves be analysed as recursively interrelated functional concepts. Given that frames are the basic format of concept formation in cognition, attributes and frames might have neural correlates in our brain.
Frames are a natural linguistic and conceptual format for the representation of complex ontologies that embody substance-accidence and part-whole relations. Of particular interest is the relation of frames to complex representational formats such as conceptual spaces and mental models.2
There you have it. Scientists looking for the relation between
their specialist knowledge of frames and
I just thought I put it out there. Perhaps you know an IxD person who would be interested in this kind of research.3
The examples were mostly from papers and slides used at conferences, but a quick introduction to mental models for designers can be found in this article: UXmag↩︎
The quote is lifted from an invitation to a 2007 conference organized by a cognitive science research group at the Heinrich Heine University. About the FFF↩︎
If she doesn’t mind digging through scientific articles, this paper may give a good hint as to why the theory is relevant for design. ↩︎
There is a well established psychological phenomenon called priming that has all sorts of effects on communication. It can both help you understand and hinder you to interpret meaning through facilitation or interference. Now, in fairness I should tell you that we are talking about split seconds when it comes to measuring the effect. Nonetheless the phenomenon shows us how our perception of things, our understanding of their meaning or function, is influenced by their form.
The relation between form and function is something designers obsess over. Introducing an audience or users into the equation adds a whole new dimension to the way form and function interact. But it is this threedimensional matrix in which a designer really operates. We must never forget to ask ourselves how the perception of our design impacts its meaning. That may sound trivial to interface designers or other communicators, but all too often do I see design that clearly has no appreciation of human perception.
Perception matters. Don’t take my word for it. You can experience interference for yourself in this little video:
If you want to learn a bit more about how our brains are shaping the way we see the world I recommend you take a look at the wonderful Christmas Lectures of 2011. The lectures are an annual event of the Royal Institution of Great Britain to promote science to the public. Besides providing a great introduction to the world of science they also set a standard for presentation.