Edward Tufte descibes a form of word-sized, inline infoburst he calls a “sparkline”:
A hyperlinked Sparkline would make webpages like superdense, fractal, layered, zoomable resources, and make the top-level of each topic look vital and organic like a terrarium of squirming data.
The next step would be to see Sparklines in the street, not just delivering data, but harvesting it – being it.
Crawling up lamposts as electricity consumption spikes during the ad-break of Coronation Street. Or infesting the wounds of a pigeon flattened by a delivery truck, updating the national epidemiological database and the air pollution record for that borough based upon trace metal readings in the carcass.
Tufte’s aiming to create bumps in the visual texture of the page that we can run our eyes over and just know. Lowering the load on our understanding not in reductive manner of many usability methodologies but trying to transform ways in which information is transferred to create a richer substrate for understanding.