In a previous post, I tried to identify some of the impacts of connectivist practice on visual design. Primarily, these are:

  • Usability
  • Visual “languages”
  • HCI Design
  • Programmable patterns depicted visually
  • Shared visual patterns
  • Ease of authoring new media and media mashups

I was referred to ManyEyes through a blog post (I think it was George’s post) and found it extremely interesting, not because of what it does (because that has been experimented earlier), but because of the way they have put it together – large number of visualization types and ease of authoring.

What is especially interesting is what they call topic hubs. What this means is that anyone can go in, start a discussion topic and add visualizations and data to it.

So these are really combinations of two different ideas – mashup between data and presentation style, and, collaboration around a shared object(s).

I think these are powerful ways of visual collaboration. Within connectivism, they offer an important way of making connections thereby impacting learning. 

What would be even more interesting is if someone took two or more different media mashups and started mashing them together.

For example, a world map showing pollution levels across major cities could be drilled down (or linked to other related visualizations) into a bar chart which could then be tagged to a Technorati tag list in addition to a Twitter conversation in addition to….

For the visual designer (as well as the educator), these represent important starting points to think about the multi-dimensionality provided by connectivism.