I was recently asked about where I “think Data Viz could really enhance the user experience”. To answer that question I think it helps to define why data visualization is important, at least for my definition. Hopefully the data visualization is giving an understandable relationship that otherwise would have been hard to understand. Maybe it shows a pattern that can predict future actions. Unfortunately a lot that passes for data visualization isn’t much more than data fire works. It makes an impressive pop but fades into darkness. Entertaining but not really informative.
Keeping that in mind if I wanted to enhance my own life via the data that’s available it would consist of these things: the weather temperature outside, the battery life of my iPhone and possibly where the slow tourists are all walking in NYC. Those factors influence my daily life almost as much as anything else. If I could figure out an automated way to collect all that info perhaps I could be told what to wear, when to plug in my iPhone and what’s the best walking route to get somewhere. The catch of course is that all I would really have to do is carry a coat in the fall, plug my iPhone in when I’m not using it, and avoid Broadway at all times. Sometimes common sense trumps making something overly complex.