Some data can be digested slowly; some must be interpreted at a glance. Ritwik Dey manages both kinds and helps others navigate data efficiently. His specialty is information design and data visualization, a field he studied at Parsons after his engineering degree at the University of Mumbai. “Parsons was one of the few schools that blended design and technology in a way that made sense to me.”
“I was always doing design projects on the side,” he says. But before working on a project for the Siemens Data Visualization Collaboration Studio at Parsons, Dey had not realized that there was a design niche so precisely suited to his abilities and interests.
“The fields of information design and data visualization were new to me,” says Dey, who today is a Senior Interaction Designer at R/GA, a digital and interactive design agency. The goal of the project was to create a visual information system that would track intake and outtake for Siemens, a package handler for outfits such as FedEx and DHL. “All the information about a package—where it was, whether it had been damaged, for instance—was stored through radio frequency information technology on each package’s ID chip. We created a compelling visual representation of all that data that was understandable at a glance.”
At R/GA, Dey has worked on everything from Websites and interactive kiosks to retail spaces and television commercials. For a pro bono project, Dey and Dr. Satchit Balsari of Weill Cornell Medical College, New York-Presbyterian Hospital are developing software that graphically depicts epidemiological statistics. Called EMcounter, the tool facilitates effective disease control and emergency response efforts in India, Tanzania, the Dominican Republic, and Teheran. “With this project,” he says, “medical professionals and technologists will be able to quickly grasp patterns, causalities, and deficiencies in the emergency medicine system.”