The word "cyberspace" is complete cliche, with no real clear meaning. A more accurate & descriptive term for "the Matrix" that Gibson et. al. describe is "dataspace", i.e. 3D representations of information constructs.
What most present-day 3D info-navigation tools (Java 3D desktop, ...) keep forgetting is that nobody will ever want to walk into a Word document when they can double-click on it instead.
The user zooming around the data is wrong. The data should zoom around the user.
Navigable geometries artificially imposed on concepts with no relation to real 4-space is newbie eye-candy at best, and a usability obstruction at worst. We have enough scalars to play with without needing to invent more:
- population density
- nielsen ratings
3D "cyberspace" won't be truly useful until we have a widespread method of 3D immersion. As elsewhere, LCD contact lenses are my favourite idea so far.
So, if that's where we want to get, how do we start getting there?
Dataspace is the end result of the ever-increasing visual data density of the 'Net. Given where we are now, how do we increase that?
When we increase the data density, we increase the ratio of what we can learn per pixel.
- As per VDQI, a decent chart or graph can summarize and accurately convey the meaning of thousands of four-digit numbers.
Any infographic such as a chart, map, or graph, can, used properly, convey far more information in far less time than the raw display of the source data that dictates the message of that infographic.
- There's no reason that a network-transported vector-based XML infographic shouldn't link to, or contain within itself, the raw data for anyone who wishes to (a) examine or analyse the figures for themselves, or (b) construct their own representations of the data.
The important thing about information is that a) I know that it's always there, b) I know how to get it, c) it's easy for me to get. This is what good information architecture is all about. I don't know the dates of each English civil war, but I can get them using Google. Why memorise them?