Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Using Design Visuals To Communicate Ideas

Papers from VizThink on Visual Communication ...

"In late January I had the pleasure of attending the VizThink conference in San Francisco. As an Information Architect I wanted to learn how to use different ideas around design to assist me with “big IA” and “little IA” projects. The folks kind enough to join me in this conversation include:

Christopher Fuller Griot’s Eye
Daniel Rose Bell Canada
Ken and Rebecca Hope Motive8 Infographics
Noah Iliinsky Complex Diagrams

We discuss:

Thinking outside the box Daniel Rose talks about why the process of “thinking outside the box” isn’t possible unless you surround yourself with people of different experiences. The following framework is what Daniel sketched during our conversation that describes his idea.

Graphics empowering people Ken Hope from Motive8 Infographics points out that a lot of the visualization tools empowers people to communicate ideas more clearly, without having to use words.

Global Perspective Noah Iliinsky and Rebecca Hope talk about the diversity of professionals, both within and outside of the design disciplines in attendance, and how the sharing of different perspectives added even more to the conference itself; backing up Daniel’s perspective of thinking outside the box. (In fact, 21% of the participants were from outside North America.)

Common Craft One of the many presenters at VizThink were the founders of Common Craft, Sachi LeFever and Lee LeFever. Rebecca points out that the end result is brilliant, but not knowing the work that goes into creating these simple, yet elegant videos, is common amongst clients.

To Write or not to Write, that is not the question Daniel points out the genius behind Common Craft is the writing or scripting of the videos that make Common Craft remarkable. Writing and illustration go hand in hand.

KISS Taking the time to reduce the noise will help your users understand the core message – whether it’s in design or writing to help guide the vision.

Want to see more of VizThink ‘08? There were several photographs taken by professional and amature photographers while at the conference. For most of the photos, check out Flickr and search on the key word “vizthink08”.

Examples of Design
The following are images were created by Christopher Fuller; Ken and Rebecca Hope; and Noah Iliinsky. For a full size version of this art work, simply click on the image.

Christopher Fuller
This is a recent live illustration record I did of a dialogue on branding (The original is 12.5’ X 6.5’) that was given to a European banking client by Scott Bedbury – a former Nike and Starbucks marketing executive.

Just a little note of clarification on why I drew Lech Walesa in the bottom left corner. Mr Bedbury told a story about Lech Walesa coming to the United States to give a talk at a conference. One of the employees at the hotel saw Lech’s name in the register as a featured speaker and decided to google him. They discovered that his birthday fell on the same night as his speech, and so they arranged for the hotel wait staff to learn how to wish him happy birthday in Polish. According to Scott, it brought Lech to tears. It was a great story and one I knew I had to capture.

I do have the ability to do a reasonable caricature of Lech Walesa on the fly being a child of the 80s, history buff, and someone who gobbled up pop culture (um, there’s a prominent nose, moustache, etc.). But I don’t know how to write “happy birthday” in Polish. So while scribing the conservation I whispered to a colleague to google how to write the phrase and slip it to me on a post-it (I took my cue from Scott Bedbury’s story and copied the initiative of the hotel worker). By the time the conversation was over I had written “Wsystkiego najlepszego Lech Walesa” on the graphic. Of course, this went over well (though I think it’s not 100% right) since the meeting was in Europe and there were a few Polish participants in the audience."    (Continued via Boxes and Arrows, Jeff Parks)    [Usability Resources]

Happy Birthday - Usability, User Interface Design

Happy Birthday

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