Recent Posts

Response to Manovich on “HCI: Representation versus Control”

5 minute read , Posted on February 14, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

In contrast with Norman –– who argues flatly for programmers to adopt a more immersive, task-centered approach to computer design rooted in cultural conventions ––Manovich contends in his paper on human-computer interfaces that designers should instead seek to embrace the new language of the computer medium, the language of the interface. The failure of programmers to make use of the full power of the interface as a language in and of itself, Manovich argues, can...

Response to “The Design of Everyday Things,” Chapter Six

5 minute read , Posted on February 14, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

Design is too often designer-centric instead of user-centric, argues Donald Norman in the sixth chapter of his book The Design of Everyday Things. Norman lays out the case that anyone acting as a designer – whether programmer, illustrator or developer – has an unconscious tendency to be device-oriented rather than task-oriented; that is, designers “become experts with the device they are designing,” while users are “often expert at the task they are trying to perform with the device.” Instead, designers should...

Critique: Superbowl XLVI ads visualization

5 minute read , Posted on February 14, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

Take a look at this fascinating visualization of last weekend’s Superbowl ads created using a new startup tool called What’s unique about this visualization is that it provides an interactive, feature-rich multimedia presentation of social media reaction in real time as it relates to live events. The sheer amount of data displayed – from the total reach, to total mentions, to the amount of money each company spent on advertising – is impressive enough...

Response to “Opening the Political Mind,” Nyhan and Reifler (2011)

5 minute read , Posted on February 08, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

The job of a journalist is to convey the facts. But when the facts conflict with an individual’s preexisting beliefs, they often tend to get pushed aside. That’s where the research of Nyhan and Reifler comes into play. In their 2011 study “Opening the Political Mind,” Nyhan and Reifler conduct a series of experiments to determine whether  the process of “self-affirmation” as well as graphical representations can help better break down the user’s inherent biases...

Response to “Six Provocations for Big Data,” Boyd and Crawford (2011)

3 minute read , Posted on February 08, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

Setting the guidelines for the social, political and human consequences of research in the database age is an issue that has yet to be fully explored. On one hand, the champions of publicness and digital democracy argue for absolute transparency and data freedom. On the other, privacy advocates consistently take issue with what they see as a potential threat to individual liberty. In their 2011 paper “Six Provocations for Big Data,” Danah Boyd and Kate...

Response to Tufte, “Data Analysis for Politics and Policy”

4 minute read , Posted on February 01, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

In the first chapter of his book Data Analysis for Politics and Policy, Yale researcher Edward R. Tufte demonstrates the opportunities as well as the challenges of using data to help inform decisions of public policy. First, Tufte sets forth the various terms and theoretical frameworks he will be using to analyze data. He advocates the use of what he calls a “multivariate analysis” which takes into account several describing variables to understand a problem...

Data visualization, infographic or illustration?

3 minute read , Posted on February 01, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

Check out this interactive graphic on the rise of Google recently produced by the folks over at It’s an innovative example of how developers can use a responsive, single-page interface to convey a broad range of chronological information that would otherwise be crammed into a timeline. The interactivity of the graphic compels the user to click through to see what happens next, and provides a more engaging narrative than a simple linear flow would....

Response to Ayres, Norman and Wolfe

12 minute read , Posted on February 01, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

Response to Ayres and Sweller, “The Split Attention Principle in Multimedia Learning” Paul Ayres and John Sweller apply the split-attention principle to the design of multimedia instruction, asserting that it is “important to avoid formats that require learners to split their attention between, and mentally integrate, multiple sources of information” (135). This assertion is based on the theory of cognitive load, which refers to the amount of information the brain is able to process at any...

On Narrow-Minded Conceptions of What Makes One a “Journalist”

10 minute read , Posted on January 25, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

What constitutes a ‘journalist’ is a semantic debate I’ve had dozens of times, particularly in grad school and in my previous full-time job as “Digital Media Manager” (another vague term) at Savannah Morning News. Outside of professional spheres, though, the general public discourse goes something like this: Random person: So tell me again: Where do you work? Me: At [Insert Publication Name Here]. Random person: ‘Oh, cool! So you’re a reporter. What do you write or...

INTERACTIVE MAP: Bronx unemployment by neighborhood

less than 1 minute read , Posted on January 02, 2012, by Carl V. Lewis

This interactive map displays the 2010 unemployment rates for each Bronx neighborhood. The darker shade green represents a higher rate of unemployment. Click on each neighborhood to see its statistics and poverty rate. SOURCE: 2010 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates

Kingsbridge neighborhood undergoes Jewish revival

39 minute read , Posted on December 20, 2011, by Carl V. Lewis

A new wave of gentrification taking place in the area near 231st Street west of Broadway has begun to breath fresh life into KingsbridgeΓÇÖs long-declining Jewish community, and may signal a possible reversal to the nearly four decade long trend of Jews leaving the neighborhood for more affluent, outlying suburban areas.

The Bullet-Dodging Priest of the North Bronx

17 minute read , Posted on August 11, 2011, by Carl V. Lewis

Jenik, 67, is the pastor at Our Lady of Refuge Church and School in the north Bronx. Over the past three decades, heΓÇÖs watched his parish slip into the throes of drug and substance abuse at an alarming rate.