Last Monday the Fifth Edition of Frontiers of Interaction took place in Rome, confirming itself as one of the most interesting event in the panorama of interaction design. A rich schedule -full of people and thoughts to share- and a wonderful location -the Aquario Romano- to talk about how technologies are changing our life.

The issue of complexity turned out as one of the frontiers that have to be explored. A first moment of reflection on that topic was given by Daniele Galiffa, CEO and co-founder of VISup, teaching assistant at Density Design Lab in 2004: he introduced the importance of using visualization methods in order to describe the complexity that is part of interaction design and information technology projects.

The tools and techniques coming from the world of information visualization can be adopted for analyzing, designing and also explaining complex phenomena such as a digital eco-system, taking advantage from the power of visualization to facilitate the observation, the ideation and the comprehension.

These thoughts became more tangible for the audience through the contribution of Andrea Vaccari, a research associate at the MIT SENSEable City Laboratory, who presented several techniques they’ve developed for giving visibility to social activities.

Again the visualization turns out as a basic support for the description of complex phenomena, augmented by the power of computer technology. They create software able to record and show data that are so complex that humans can hardly control and express.

Their use of technology together with the excellent control of the visual languages and the visual qualities conveying information is of course something that overcomes the frontiers.

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