Sunday, September 13, 2009

Signs and Design

Virtualpolitik friend Kurt Anderson has put together an online multimedia essay for the New York Times called "Better Signs of Trouble" that deals with one of my favorite topics in the Virtualpolitik book: the Homeland Security threat alert system. As a self-confessed "data nerd" Anderson asks several designers to come up with a better system. Many graphic artists responded with light-hearted witticism, but they still acknowledged that exploiting the capacities of mobile devices might be important, especially in a text message and smart phone world. Anderson's favorites, however, got at the nature of how risk itself is communicated to argue that risk should either be visualized as a graph with many data points or seen as a binary system with only caution and alert settings.

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