Kyle Li and I worked with Julia Wargaski to create an interaction prototype for ludic data display. The dataset is from a student of Julia's who cross referenced the colors in traditional kimonos with the ingredients used to make them.
Colleen Macklin posed the challenge to us to create a game prototype that could work like a data visualization. In this case, though, instead of viewing and navigating, the user "plays" the data. The hope is that, by making the experience playful, the user will be drawn further into the experience of game and, in so doing, learn more about the connections within the dataset.
The player begins with one type of ingredient--for example, benibana or safflower. That ingredient becomes a "lure" in a fishing game. Colors not produced by that plant dye will avoid the lure while colors that are composed of it will "swim" toward it. By switching lures, the player will attract different kinds of fish-like colors. As the player continues to attract colors, associations between the ingredient and the range of hues it creates will begin to form as the school of fish flit around the lure.
Could this be used to work with other tables of cross-reference data? It's an interesting question. Our hypothesis going into this design experiment was that certain kinds of game mechanics might lend themselves to representing certain datasets, much in the same way that some forms of data lend themselves better to pie charts, scatter plots, network diagrams, or hierarchical trees.
We're encouraged by this early work and hope to expand it with this and other datasets in the future. But don't take my word for it. Check out the demo. It should load up and be playable. The "lure" follows the mouse. Press up and down to change the type of lure.
Feedback, as usual, is very welcome.
Copyright Mike Edwards 2006-2009. All content available under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license, unless otherwise noted.