Yesterday I was sent a powerpoint presentation containing data from one of our recent projects. It was prepared for us by the client—the largest of a number of multinationals in a particular industry sector.

I’m being a bit coy about this data because we have agreed not to release it publicly until Vision Plus 12, the Conference organised by the International Institute of Information Design (IIID) in Austria from July 5 to 7 this year. So until then, I can say very little.

What I can say is that it is important, it fits well into the conference theme of Information Design – Achieving Measurable Results, and it will provide further confirmation of the extraordinary achievements of information design over the last few years.

Now, I’m well aware that the term Information Design does not have the same high profile as terms such as Information Architecture(IA), User Experience Design(UX) or Usability(UB). Ironic, perhaps, as these terms each covers just a part of what information designers do. But the information design tradition of practice, spanning many traditional as well as the more recent media, and in almost every domain of human activity, gives it a much greater depth of practical know-how on which to build, and a wealth of historical examples spanning many generations. Moreover, with this long tradition and breadth there has also been a slow accumulation of methods and research findings on which information designers have been able to draw. Not surprisingly, therefore, Information Design is a mature professional practice and well placed to provide leadership into the future for many of its newer cousins.

As an indication of this, IA UX and UB professionals spend a lot of time agonising about the return on investment (ROI) that their clients might get from what they do. In the ID community, we have had good data on this for over 15 years. Indeed some of that data is quoted in support of claims made by these younger cousins, often without taking account of the full range of activities that lead to this ROI. Our preoccupation in ID has moved on from this. We now ask what level of ROI our clients should expect, and what standard of accesibility, usability, and other features of information people have a right to expect.

The Vision Plus 12 conference will be a landmark event, with some of the most important recent case histories, methods, and teaching on display, much of it concerned with demonstrating the measurable value of information design.