The Next Era Of Designers Will Use Data As Their Medium

The Text “The Next Era of Designers Will Use Data As Their Medium” by Mark Rolston explains that the software industry is seeking for designers that are “proficient in meaning, form, movement and transformation of data” (Rolston, 2014). In 1989 this was an engineer’s world, and the people trying to apply design and art were in a constant battle because the focus was in creating software.

However, the need of design was clear throughout the years. People needed things to be visually appealing, to interact with them, and to experience them in new dimensions. Nowadays we have enormous amount of data emerging all the time and this is becoming a challenge for designers as data has become a rich medium.

Rolston explains that “the new design challenge is to use data for the same humanistic outcome that we have in mind when we shape products through the user interface or physical form.” (Rolston, 2014). To humanize our experience with technology, the author states that it is important to look at the evolution of raw data to knowledge. At the begging people were interested in the medium itself: the files, then people looked at it like data dn how this could be transported. Today we see it as information and we try to make sense of it but the future goal is to transform it into knowledge. To have a system that it is actually capable of making sense of the information and knowing the data.

Moreover, all of this changes in data have lead into a new discipline that specializes in data as the medium with a humanistic purpose: Data Design. This is a combination of data analysts and interaction designers, that intend to use all this data available around us and serve its real purpose. By being data designers, the following skills are enhanced and trained:

  • Data modelling: Helps achieve fidelity to present organized knowledge through data.
  • Algorithm design: Helps classify the data, transform it and create compositions.
  • Manipulation of the technical facets: Latency, density, size.
  • Future computing experiences: Data Design it’s a bridge to the arise of new applications, interfaces and technologies.
  • Cognitive systems: Helps to process the data
  • Invisible computing: Data designers drive how information is used by computers to complete tasks that don’t require human intervention.

In conclusion, Data designers aim at converting raw data into information and thus into knowledge, which affords the possibility of new things, new products, new information, new ways of communication and new ways of living.


Rolston, M. (2014) Wired. ‘The Next Era of Designers Will Use Data as Their Medium’ Available at: (Accessed: 23 February 2016).


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