Good information must be designed to be good!
Good information doesn't just happen!
Design helps to ensure that your information has meaning, and gives consistent answers every time you use it.
Not all information is valuable to you.
Good information is selected from the huge amount of stuff that bombards you every day.
Good information is well-defined.
It means the same to you as it does to others. And it means the same today as it did yesterday — and the same as it will tomorrow!
Good information is well-organized.
It is structured to describe everything in its scope of interest — all important concepts, and all important details of those concepts — in a way that is clear and easy to understand.
Good information is carefully collected and prepared for use.
Good information doesn't just happen!
Careful collecting and preparing help to ensure that your information has meaning, and gives consistent answers every time you use it.
Good information is well-collected.
It is observed, noted, monitored, counted, measured, estimated, and recorded in ways that distinguish between what's real and what's random, and can be repeated at different times and places as needed.
Good information is well-stored.
It is stored in a well-structured way that makes its meaning clear, and helps keep it up-to-date and error-free.
Its storage structure provides a solid base from which to produce clear and consistent results, every time the information is used!
Good information is well-analyzed.
It is retrieved, selected, aggregated, combined, and summarized in ways that are appropriate to what it's about, how it was collected, and how it has been stored.
It is analyzed by well-tested computer programs (code) using statistically-appropriate analysis techniques.
Good information is well-presented.
It is presented in a way that highlights its key features, promotes understanding of its meaning, provides valid interpretations of its issues in their context, and provokes thought.
Good information needs a human touch.
Good information needs the dedicated input of those who will use it...
...and the skill and judgement of an experienced information design professional who will elicit user needs and craft those needs into working solutions on current technologies.
There is no "one size fits all" for good information!
We use different meanings for even very similar things, depending on the context.
while Canadian law may treat a corporation as a legal "person",
this meaning is very different from what we call a "person"
on a day-to-day basis.
We use different classifications for different purposes.
although transportation engineers may classify roads as
major highways, arterials, collectors, and local roads,
the people who live on those arterials, collectors, and local roads
may see their roads as "home". Speed limits set on the basis of
these 2 different classifications will be very different.
We use information from many different viewpoints, and at many different scales (from bird's eye view to close up).
while historians know the exact dates (day, month and year) on which
many of the key events of World War II took place, they are less sure of
exactly when Nazi Germany's concentration camps, "euthanasia" centres,
and extermination camps began and ended operations —
the destruction of records near the war's end made most of these events
only vaguely known to the nearest month and year.
Our needs for information change with time.
as a species expands it range, or begins to invade a completely new area,
its often-accidental discovery may lead to the need for
new data collection protocols and different datasets,
to help biologists track the progress of the invasion.
Good information gets help from technology.
Technology is needed, but is never enough by itself, for good information.
While today's ever-changing barrage of technologies creates and enables new ways to capture, manage, and use information, applying information effectively to meet specific needs requires information designed with those needs in mind.
The need for well-designed information is often overlooked in the face of the dazzling promises offered by the latest technologies.
Skylark Information Systems Ltd. knows good information.
Skylark's David G. Oliver uses a thoughtful approach to deliver great information strategies, solutions & training to his clients.
Skylark's custom solutions include:
- Information Graphics
And with the above solutions:
- Strategies and Guidance
Contact David for creative help with your information problems.
¿Qué gigantes?, dijo Sancho Panza.
"What giants?" said Sancho Panza. (At which point the inestimably great Don Quijote launched his attack on the windmills...)
Find stories from the front lines of the battle for good information here.