Jason Cohen from Smart Bear has a great, albeit long post on Color Theory.
It’s full of physics, and light wave-particle duality, and art theory, and it’s exactly the kind of thing that a card-carrying geek like me saves to Instapaper to read on his Kindle on a Saturday Morning. But as I was lying in my hammock in the Australian sunshine, reading it, one illustration really stuck out – It’s this one:
To find the exact reasons behind this mind boggling image, you’ll need to read Jason’s original post, But the thing that really got me thinking was that this was just more evidence of the way our brains are hard-wired to view things in context.
The shadow cast by the cylinder means something to us, and it affects the way we process the visual information contained in the rest of our image. Even to the extent that we process the information completely wrong.
I suspect that this phenomenon affects a lot of our thinking, particularly when it comes to the way we work. Being able to get the correct information isn’t enough — it needs to come within the context that we expect it to be in.
Most of today’s software applications present information in a manner that’s completely devoid of context. Email arrives indiscriminately — and without warning — in your inbox. If we’re lucky, we can follow the thread of conversation to get a little history behind each message, but it can’t help us fit these items into the overall picture of our project or our business.
Social tools like Facebook and Twitter display a constant stream of communication. Item follows item, each a discrete, disconnected chunk of information. The evolution of #hashtags, @replies and lists are community-driven efforts to redress this lack of context. They might help us keep up, but they don’t help us make sense of what’s going on.
Ultimately, the burden falls on us to contextualize this information. What’s relevant? What isn’t ? What’s related? What isn’t?
Information by itself isn’t enough.
Information + Social Connectivity isn’t enough.
What’s required for productivity is Information + Context.
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