A picture paints a thousands words, and all that

These images from visualizing.org:

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One of the nice things about data is that you can make graphs out of it. A good visualization can help tell your story. It can also help you cover-up some lies, but we won’t get into that right now. Add some graphics, colours, lots of lines and a quirky element or two and you’ve got it made. Your visualizations will go viral before you know it.

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School is a game. It’s just not a terribly well-designed game

At TEDxBoston, Seth Priebatsch looks at the next layer in progress: the “game layer,” a pervasive net of behavior-steering game dynamics that will reshape education and commerce.

School is a game. It’s just not a terribly well-designed game… There are levels. There are C. There are B. There is A. There are statuses. I mean, what is valedictorian, but a status? If we called valedictorian a “white knight paladin level 20”, I think people would probably work a lot harder.

Having fun yet?

Architecture that knows where you are and how you’re feeling

In other news, I’ve been doing some reading up on Phillip Beesley who is an architect and a prof at the University of Waterloo.

He spoke at tedxwaterloo this year.

His most recent works are a mashup of architecture and sculpture, and are both creepy and beautiful. I think they speak loudly to what the future of architecture and design of physical space and information can (and should) become, a sympathetic environment responding to the individual who is experiencing it – have a look.

I wonder if he might be an interesting addition to the accessibility conference next year.

Here’s what I learned from #a4a10

Coming down from a conference high. #a4a10 – Aiming for Accessibility: meeting standards, making change was a tremendous event. Congratulations and thanks to the speakers, attendees, organizers and sponsors.

Word clouds from the event:

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Here’s (some of) what I learned and was inspired by:

  • “Meeting the requirements of the AODA really isn’t the goal in itself…we need to nurture a culture of accessibility and inclusion, which is different than simply accommodation and compliance.” (Mike Ridley)
  • Chronic conditions are the health care challenge of the 21st century.
  • Accessibility means revenue. People with disabilities are an untapped resource.
  • Apple & Accessibility
  • WAVE toolbar
  • D2L & Accessibility
  • Accessible Course Templates cc: No Rights Reserved License)
  • Vanilla Ice references have a place at most conferences (e.g. “Stop. Collaborate and Listen”, “If there’s a problem, yo, I’ll solve it.”)
  • Simply Accessible (Derek Featherstone). Design ideas for disabilities.
  • “It’s more than getting into the interface. It’s about being able to participate.” (Stephen Hockema)
  • Good design is accessible design.

See you next year!

The future of gaming: *this* changes everything.

Forget memorizing button sequences, drop the joystick, and put down the Wiimote: Microsoft Kinect, which can “recognize faces, obey voice commands, and track body movements,” according to the LA Times, will enable users to control their video game avatars just by moving their bodies in front of the Kinect (see video below). Kinect users will also be able to control movies just by speaking commands, such as “play” or “pause.”

(Huffington Post)

Controller-free? This is huge. Not just for gaming. Consider applications for education, accessibility, communication, information design…

Contrary to what our good friends at Apple would like us to believe, THIS changes everything.

Design. Honestly.

Inspired this week by an encounter with A.M. García while at AccessAbility.

Antonio García is a Chicago-based strategist, writer and brand consultant for the industries of design + innovation. When he’s not shaping and sharing the stories and futures of authentic brands, he draws, designs and djs.

Here’s some of what he shared with me about design:

  • Authenticity is critical, especially communicating across cultures
  • Designers need to be observers, translators, communicators, ethnographers
  • It’s about “keeping it real”
  • It’s about more than “keeping it real”, it has to come from the heart
  • Understanding social mores helps align your work
  • Be flexible. Tell stories. Share insights. Be curious. Be worldly. Be inspired.