Touching Databy Callie Neylan
Senior Designer, Data Visualization
Big data. Little data. Open data. Closed data. In the absence of a pointer and mouse, how do we control data with our bodies? Is there a current gestural glossary for data manipulation? If so, what is it and how and where is it being used? What gestures are needed when authoring data versus consuming data? In this talk, I will summarize linguistic theory around language acquisition, considering how humans learn and teach sign language and present original research exploring how users manipulate data via immersive touch UIs. Data is categorized in various ways and articulated via its own specialized vocabulary: aggregate, mash up, drill down, visualize, consume, explore, compare, highlight, slice, dice, analyze, filter, sort, focus, bubble up. These are words we use to define data and our data-driven interactions via verbal language. But in this age of gestural interfaces and touch devices, what is the gestural language of data? As interface designers during this pivotal juncture of the information age, we are in the position to uncover, develop and influence a new language – a sign language of sorts – that allows users to directly manipulate data. Uncover via tapping into the innate human capacity of gesticulation. Develop by using participatory design methods to define new gestures. Influence by observing, recording, and sharing user-defined gestural language research with the broader design community.