It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Web based tool

Do you like this?

I think it is high-design and low information. The thing is, at first glance it LOOKS like it could carry a lot of information, but on playing with it, one discovers that, alas, it doesn't.

Other climate science sites are high information and low design.

Of course, high information high design is the expensive quadrant, but it's the place to make progress on how people think.


matt andrews said...

Agreed; I was looking forward to some really interesting material when I first noticed this, but after perusing it a bit I was disappointed that it was so light on content.

Nice start with the design, but really the useful/interesting information content is barely what you'd see in a print spread like Nat Geo. Could have done much better.

jg said...

Thanks for sharing this. I've bookmarked the page and will be looking at it more intensely, and extending compliments that are due to the creators, but to your question of utility:
I would like to see the program do more with the big picture perspective, for example, when I use the filters for just one view, say, water availability, I'd like to view the summaries for the various places without zooming into a region. I also would like to see the additional topics that are now external links brought into the program. The abstracts could be read in. Last, and most important to me, is I'd like to see this build new pictures that are useful to summarizing the main topics and relationships between them. For example, when examining ocean acidification I'd change to the same global ocean view but highlight major coral reef areas, fisheries, and show some indication of how much food is coming in from these areas now and projected into the future. I think I can make these criticisms because I'm working on something similar for my own sanity. I read so much, and if I could get it into pictures, I'd remember it better, but also have a means of sharing with a lot of people who also need pictures.


deepclimate said...

Maybe I'm missing something, but I couldn't find a link to the interactive version of the map, either here or in the Guardian article.

A bit of Google sleuthing comes up with it:

Maybe you could incorporate this link, so folks can evaluate the interactive version of the map for themselves. Personally, I found turning off all the impacts and then looking at them one at a time was instructive.

Word verification: Promo
(Hmmm ... could be an issue).

Alexander Schatten said...

I totally agree. I was actually rather angry about this webpage. It gives you the impression to provide a useful tool for the general audience, but it is actually only a design gimmick.

What *exactly* does it help me to know temperatures in certain areas and blurry information of other sorts? The important aspects are the effects of the warming, the disruption of a complex system and the consequences for nature, agriculture, cities, societies...

Nothing of that is shown properly in my opinion. Does not make much sense to me.

Hank Roberts said...

Yep, I saw that last week too and couldn't find much information at all connected to it. Felt like it was just a snapshot of, or a design sketch for, some kind of interactive web tool. Or should be.

skanky said...


It's interesting that the "More Information" in some situations brings up a page of fleshed out summary, and in others just brings up the list of references without the summary.

I wonder if it's still being worked on - or the pages behind it are?

Hank Roberts said...

Ah, thanks Deepclimate for the link to something that works.

You have to click the little circles with the + or - sign and then something, at least, pops up.

I guess the other thing was just a press release picture and they forgot to provide the link to the real application, such as it is.

Hank Roberts said...

Compare and contrast:

jg said...

Tough crowd for illustrators here :)

I remain intrigued by the potential of this and similar attempts.

There's a good reason why scientific papers are mostly text, data, and math. These concepts cannot be accurately summarized in pretty pictures, which no doubt, friendly readers of this blog are aware of.

But I have to view this illustration in terms of the non-scientist. It reinforces that warming isn't just about warming, but about water, crops, oceans, etc. The multi-facets of the global warming threat need reinforcing among the general public, and I hope it is more memorable if one has to at least push a button to see the various facets.


The Long Future said...

Horrified. 6 to 7 deg C for northeast, possibly within the next 50 years (although given the rapid rate at which all the estimates are sliding into doom, maybe I should be happy)...

Short on information; I assume this is the projected change for mean annual temps.

skanky said...

"I guess the other thing was just a press release picture and they forgot to provide the link to the real application, such as it is."

The link's at the bottom of the UKMO press release - it's just easy to miss.

Michael Tobis said...

It's a fine illustration; it's just not much of an interactive tool.