Attention is a tricky thing. It’s hard to notice something that you don’t know to look for. But as designers, we have the ability to command attention, and present information in new and engaging ways. With the proliferation of sensors and digital life comes an endless stream of data points requiring context and translation. Data visualization has arguably never been more in-demand. The value of data will remain illegible unless designers figure out how to reveal connections, communicate analysis, and make the invisible visible.
At SPAN Newcastle-Gateshead we set out with our partner It’s Nice That (INT) to do just that. INT identified and assembled a collaborative team, pairing up data scientists from the Urban Observatory—an organization responsible for capturing the UK’s largest public set of urban data—with designers from NOVAK, developer James Rutherford, and sound artists Ed Carter and Tim Shaw to shed light on the city's air quality by presenting pollution data in a new, engaging way.