Data Spirals, 7 Cs, & A Photo Blog

by Luke Wroblewski September 7, 2004

In 2001, I worked on a research information retrieval interface for the School of Library and Information Sciences at the University of Illinois. The system’s search results were organized spatially by relevance.

The most relevant authors (greatest likelihood of the similar interests) were closest to the center of the “data spiral” while those further out had looser affinity to the search terms. I was recently pointed to a Flash Web application that reminded of this project. The Get Your Intern Now shopping cart interface builds a data spiral of interns after you click on a portrait for details. Sadly, the data spiral is not navigable, but the way the interns follow your cursor is very slick.

In March, I wrote about the 7 Cs of Interface Design:

  • Communication -perhaps the most meaningful and commonplace form of interaction.
  • Comprehension -the goal of all communication is comprehension.
  • Clarity -comprehension can only be achieved through the clarity of our messages.
  • Comfort -communication can flow naturally when we are comfortable.
  • Collaboration -fundamentally, interactive systems consist of collaboration between the user and the system to achieve a goal.
  • Creation -the final goal of collaboration is creation.
  • Cartography -anytime we are engaged in a process, we need to have an understanding of where we are within that process.

Didier Hilhorst recently pointed me to (and summarized) a different 7 Cs framework (seven design choices that enable the implementation of an effective interface) from Rayport and Jaworski’s 2000 book, e-Commerce:

  • Context -the context of the web site captures its aesthetic and functional look-and-feel.
  • Content -all the digital subject matter on the web site.
  • Community -the interaction that occurs between web site users.
  • Customization -the ability of the web site or interface to tailor itself or to be tailored to each individual.
  • Communication -the dialogue that unfolds between the web site and its users.
  • Connection -the extent of the formal linkages between the web site and other web sites.

The authors claim “the success of a particular business depends on the extent that all of the Cs work together to support the value proposition and business model.” This amounts to achieving balance.

Finally, my recent interest in photography led me to Rion Nakaya’s visual blog: filled with beautiful photos that document, archive, and witness moments in NYC and abroad. Enjoy.