Tom Chi  

What?! no WAY

July 2nd, 2004 by Tom Chi :: see related comic

it sucks.

8 Responses to “What?! no WAY”
Patrice wrote:

If we take this comic as Information Visualization (not interactive tough) then it does indeed suck. Not because the comic is bad, far from it. But because I don’t yet get the point you two want to make. :-)

Tom Chi wrote:

We’re sneaky like that. Soon there will be a torrent (not bit) of information visualization essays and you’ll find yourself wanting to unknow it… but it’ll be too late!

Rajio wrote:

Damn. That’s pretty sneaky.

Gabe Johnson wrote:

The curse of ‘interactive’ is that it tends to have a very high ‘gee whiz’ factor. Of course the reason that ‘interactive’ appeals to some part of us is that we can take an active role in how it is displayed. People naturally like to manipulate things–it’s an inherent human activity. So interactive infoviz is a natural outgrowth of plain infoviz.

I say ‘curse’ above because the developers of interactive infoviz systems generally only go so far as to generate the ‘gee whiz’ response, stopping long before any positive utility is achieved. Lots of interactive visualizations out there are stuck in the Flash mindset, circa 1998.

Imagine how you interact with non-computerized data in the world. You use your senses to perceive something, use your brain to process those sensory inputs along with your own personal knowledge of the world, and then act on that data. See, think, do. Repeat. Interactive data simply lets you act on the form of sensory output of the display–changing the object you are manipulating as to inspect some aspect of it in some other way. Again, this is a fundamental activity that humans do. Computers just make it possible to do it on a much more massively confusing scale.

I put this comment in the ’suck’ column because interactive infoviz is still in kindergarten. As soon as it grows up, beyond the ‘gee whiz’ phase and into the maturity, I’m sure I could put it in the ‘it rocks’ column.

S Woodside wrote:

Gotta agree with you on this one, Tom Chi :-)

Bob wrote:

I think it has at least one reason to live: it is the latest version of FilmOS.

Take Swordfish: hacking obviously isn’t running some evil scripts from a Linux command line, it’s playing a 3D wire-frame cube puzzle where you have to collect blobs on the edges and corners. (So, that’s what’s holding back my hacker success - I’m not thinking visually. D’oh!)

Reed Hedges wrote:

Infovis Turbulence

From OK/Cancel (by way of UV): Comic Strip Kevin Cheng says it ROCKS No Way says Tom Chi Kevin visualizes the future a bit Tom muses further about its suckage Also, InfoVis.net is four years old now….

Reed Hedges wrote:

Infovis Turbulence

From OK/Cancel (by way of UV): Comic Strip Kevin Cheng says it ROCKS No Way says Tom Chi Kevin visualizes the future a bit Tom muses further about its suckage Also, InfoVis.net is four years old now….


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OK/Cancel is a comic strip collaboration co-written and co-illustrated by Kevin Cheng and Tom Chi. Our subject matter focuses on interfaces, good and bad and the people behind the industry of building interfaces - usability specialists, interaction designers, human-computer interaction (HCI) experts, industrial designers, etc. (Who Links Here) ?