Itâ€™s always good to come across interesting new initiatives to innovate on the newsreporting and media space by local tech people. A recent such initiative is by Asim Imtiaz, who recently launched Newsbreak – a visual representation of news of local and global topics of interest.
They offer a new user interface to present news, and have based the user interface on a readerâ€™s cognitive tendency to look at darker shades with higher contrasts first before moving on to lower contrast shades. We naturally respond to such maps and depict visual patterns easily. Effectively this means that the site aims at guiding your eyes towards more useful news quickly, which can certainly help deal with information overload.
I’m not sure how the algorithm determines how recent or significant a news story is, i.e. what criteria is used to make something bigger than others or to assign it a certain set of colors, and that might be its biggest challenge to adoption – as long as users agree with the criteria used by NewsBreak to categorize news, it could be incredibly useful to the reader. However, if they disagree with the reordering, the site may become confusing quickly.
Here is their source of inspiration:
â€œHumans can quickly understand the relative position of the different entities and their relationships in a picture. Interface designers can capitalize on this by shifting some of the cognitive load of information retrieval to the perceptual system. By appropriately coding properties by size, position, shape, and color, we can greatly reduce the need for explicit selection, sorting, and scanning operations.â€[Shneiderman, 1994]
Currently theyâ€™re just sourcing news from Google News API against keywords.