Engage the User

This is the first of four reflections by Benjamin Carr on principals which allow simulations and visualizations to help us understand complex systems.

Simulations and visualizations are, for a variety of reasons, effective at engaging the user. I find the colors, shapes, and patterns pull my attention in a way that text cannot. Another property which makes these tools engaging is their interactive capacities, as can be seen with this stock and flow diagram. In such cases, the user has the ability to change the values of important variables. The user is positioned as an active component in the production of whatever result the tool generates.

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