Eyeo Festival: 3 Days of Pure Awesome

Cindy and I (aka BrainstormOverload) were delighted to be able to attend the Eyeo Festival in Minneapolis June 27-29, 2011. The presenter and attendee list was stuffed with big thinkers and doers from around the world and Minneapolis can be proud to have been the destination for this awesome data visualization pilgrimage.

The sold out show clearly blew the minds of all 350 attendees, probably the minds of the building’s regular tenants and in all likelihood the minds of any students who inadvertently strayed too near the McNamara Alumni Center. In fact* even dogs as far away as Lake Nokomis are said to have been so inspired they scratched insistently at the computer keyboards of their owners in a vain attempt to create something beautiful and useful.

There was so much beautiful and useful in evidence that I can’t possibly do it justice here. No worries. I’m sure someone who ignored his or her parent’s advice and became a jounalist will manage to do it. Here instead are a few links and references mentioned durring the conference to start your exploration into this burgeoning discipline that is at once both design and code.

I particularly enjoyed the presentations by Jer Thorp. Check out his work at the New York Times Research and Development Lab and his personal stuff at blog.blprnt.com. He had a way of making everything sound fun, inspiring and easy. I’m pretty sure the last of these will prove to be untrue more or less the instant I myself try coding in Processing. His Kepler Exoplanet project is super cool. Jer had a number of memorable quotes including this advice about taking a job “It doesn’t matter what the company is but it really matters who the people are.”

Jake Barton got off to a slightly formal start on the morning of day two but had the audience in the palm of his hand by about 3 minutes in. His work at Local Projects is extremely thoughtful and well crafted. He emphasized the importance of prototyping early and often and also of inviting the client into that process. He also shared this advice: “Interaction design is a series of constraints and instructions. Make as many of the cues as possible non-verbal.”

Nicholas Felton who summed up his work as “Telling larger stories with fewer words.” shared the obsessive process behind his beautifully designed, personal annual reports. He’s accepted a position at Facebook and I hope it entails him redesigning the UX from top to bottom. On the way to Facebook Nicholas created Daytum as a way to collect your own personal data.

Here are a few more links worth surfing to on the intergoogle:
Crowd favorites: eyeocollection.blogspot.com
Data viz lab at Columbia: http://www.spatialinformationdesignlab.org/
Amazing project from Moritz Stefaner http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/
Crowd sourced music video: http://www.thejohnnycashproject.com/
Chrome Experiements: http://www.chromeexperiments.com/

More is on my mind but my mind is actually starting to bleed which causes the synapsis to misfire so I’ll add more after I give it a rest.

*not actually in fact.