Understanding Data is a visual and conceptional compendium which explores the visualization of the graphical file representation.
30 years after the introduction of the personal computer, we still operate with an almost unchanged file representation: the objectified document sheet. Although once conceived within the desktop-metaphor, as a mnemonic graphical device for office workers, the document sheet is nowadays an outdated and unnecessary vestige, which creates problems to data visualization, instead of solving them.
My thesis researches and explores alternative visualization options and detects the potential of metadata for the visualization of files.
While the conventional file representation contains no additional information about the file content, designing with the help of file metadata allows to generate individual, characteristic and easily comparable file representations.
Researched metadata include, among others: file size, processing time, work activity, file age, considered in my work both as isolated and as interconnected data.
The result is wide exploratory and visual compendium, which ranges from simple approaches up to avant-garde experiments. Understanding Data collects these conceptional approaches and revealing a new space of possibilities for the design of the file representation.