The iPad permits us to visualize and interact with persistent information in entirely new ways

Tom Wujec: 3 Ways the Brain Creates Meaning
[Via Creativity Central]


This is a wonderful talk about how we process information to create meaning. The three key phrases for doing this right are: Visualize, Interactive and Persistent.

He explains why cartoonish graphics can be so powerful for re-enforcing and developing meaning. As I mentioned the other day, learning and remembering utilize a very complex set of pathways to help produce meaning or knowledge.

Now, I have wondered why working with the iPad is such a different process than with a desktop computer. It seems that it may have something to do with the meanings and metaphors we have in our brain.

The original Mac GUI first gave use a way to visualize, a way to interact and a persistent way to see the computer. It was a desktop visual, with papers and folders just as we were used to interacting with. We interacted with a keyboard and mouse, which, while a little different than normal, provided tremendous interaction. And we could come back to this world with little difficulty to examine all aspects.

The iPad GUI also has all three themes but its metaphor and meaning seems quite different. Instead of a desktop metaphor, it is something that completely changes depending on what we want to do. It is a book, it is a newspaper, it is sketchpad. We interact act with it directly, manipulating objects just as we have for millions of years. And persistence is not only still present but, when iOS 4 is available, will allow persistence between different apps to be greatly magnified.

The iPad is a totally different way of gaining meaning from the data we examine in this Information Age. We are just beginning to get an idea of just what it will allow us to do but I think a GUI that permits direct, manipulative interaction of visualized, persistent data will become the main way we interact with not only mobile devices but with a wide range of other information appliances.