Bing's Senior UX Design Lead Manuel Lima gave a lecture towards the end of last year at the the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts about our need to reconsider the process of network visualization. In this age of information we live in, it's imperative to understand that the trajectory of information and knowledge doesn't move in a linear motion but is much, much more dynamic, wrapped and woven together in complex ways that require a new approach to organization and indexing. In the talk, Lima talks about how our traditional habit of using the model of a tree to visualize how a network of information branches out and is connected is no longer capable of supporting the "complexities of our modern world."
This complexity is exemplified in no better way than with the massive, nearly infinite amount of information that is currently ever-expanding on the internet. It's easy to forget sometimes that the internet is not some organic, macro-synaptic network growing from out of the digital ether but, rather, a group of people out there are tasked with finding ways to organize all of that information. Given Lima's hand in that those types of affairs, he has a particularly qualified insight into information networks.
As if that wasn't fascinating on its own, the talk is accompanied with one of RSA Animate's illustrations that literally visualize the comments and concepts from Lima as he is talking.
While that was only about ten minutes of Lima's talk, below is an extended version. Although no offense is intended towards Lima or whomever put together the graphics he used in this speech, they're not nearly as endearing as RSA Animate's illustration.
According to his website, Lima is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, nominated by Creativity magazine as "one of the 50 most creative and influential minds of 2009," founder of VisualComplexity.com - A visual exploration on mapping complex networks.[Via Steve Clayton at Next at Microsoft.]