Design Exercise: Displaying State

Complex systems like the stock market  or election results, and gameworlds like The Sims or World or Warcraft or a fantasy football league have many variables, some of which may be changing in realtime. Some systems that affect our lives profoundly like changes in global climate or the  global finance transactions that created a world-wide financial crisis or the health care system of insurance companies, hospitals, doctors, government organizations, and multiple categories of patients are hard to sum up so that the cause and effect relationships are clear.  The challenge for designers creating interactive models of  dynamic and complex systems is to display the  state. Displaying the state may involve creating a readable summary  of the general current condition that can be examined more closely to make clear the individual states of system components. Ideally it should also provide a way for interactors to explore the causal connections that make up the system, providing visibility for the rules by which the system operates.

Choose an example of a digital display strategy for any such complex system and with a well-focused image and no more than 200 words make clear why it succeeds or fails in conveying the overall state of the system, the state of key components,  and the cause and effect relationships among them.

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