My project is about designing a user experience for big data. If you keep up with tech news, it seems like every other article is about the internet of things. Every 6 months, there’s another leap in processing speeds, allowing us to process the data from those sensors at ever faster speeds. What this means is that we’ll no longer be capturing data and storing it for later, like a really large Excel file. This means that we’re now able to make use of big data in real-time--theoretically. You can’t understand a terabyte of data as it flashes past your eyes, so we need some new way to manage it.
This problem that I just identified also identifies my role here. I started my research thinking of myself as a data visualization designer. That’s a relatively low level role on the value chain, and there are hundreds, maybe thousands of really good data viz designers out there. My role here is as a designer of the process and experience of working with big data.
There’s a significant case to be made for spending quality time on UX for big data. We know that a happy user is more effective, more efficient, more creative, and better at solving problems. With the complexity that big data brings, a happy user is a high priority.