My Question for Fukushima Visualization Designers

Last Sunday, I at­ten­ded an in­ter­est­ing ses­sion rather a dis­cus­sion panel by Marian Stein­bach and Kon­stantin Weiss at UXCamp Europe on the topic Does In­form­a­tion Visu­al­iz­a­tion help in Fukushima? The ma­jor things un­der dis­cus­sion was ‘How the cur­rent visu­al­iz­a­tion lack in us­ab­il­ity?’, ‘Dif­fi­culty in un­der­stand­ing the visu­al­iz­a­tion’, ‘Ra­di­ation units used were con­fus­ing’, ‘How these visu­al­iz­a­tions helped/​not helped in mak­ing de­cisions’ and so on. But I wanted to ask a ques­tion to the de­sign­ers who already did the visu­al­iz­a­tions and those who go­ing to do the bet­ter visu­al­iz­a­tions; to un­der­stand the pur­pose of such ex­er­cise.

Be­fore get­ting into the ques­tion, I wanted to give you a small pro­logue. As de­sign­ers we should un­der­stand the users; for whom we are design­ing the product. I this case, the tar­get audi­ence of the visu­al­iz­a­tions. For me there are three kinds of people:

  1. The Cit­izens Liv­ing in Ja­pan: These people live in Ja­pan. They have their fam­il­ies, land, apart­ments… there. For them it is al­most im­possible to think about ‘leav­ing Ja­pan’. The Ja­pan­ese gov­er­ment has to sup­port them in case of any emer­gen­cies. In simple word they are un­der sole pro­tec­tion of the Ja­pan­ese Gov­ern­ment. They can’t do much on their own. Any alarm, real or false cre­ates panic. Which can lead to an­other dis­aster of its own on.
  2. The Ex­pats: These are the people I say if any signs of danger, can get out of the coun­try. The ma­jor thing they need to sac­ri­fice for their safety is their ‘tie’, can be emo­tional, mon­et­ory, any other ties with Ja­pan. In short they are the people that can af­ford to leave the coun­try.
  3. The Out­side World: The rest of the world (like me and most you), who need these visu­al­iz­a­tions or facts just to be in a state ‘be­ing in­formed’. For them, not much de­cision or ac­tions should be taken after know­ing Fukushi­ma’s state.

So the ques­tion I want to ask the de­sign­ers, when they say they are go­ing to make a bet­ter visu­al­iz­a­tion – for which of the above users are you go­ing to design?

Do you have any thoughts on this art­icle? Write to me.