Tuesday, January 29, 2008

VizThink08 - Thoughts from Monday

I wish I took better notes. It's Tuesday morning and I'm a little brain dead from all the conversations yesterday. In trying to recall ANY of them and I'm drawing a blank. So I'll review a few pics in an attempt to shake loose a few coherent thoughts...

Karl Gude - visual storytelling

I sat in Karl Gude's session on Visual StoryTelling. He is very dynamic and passionate about his work. I didn't stay for the entire session because I wanted to get into a couple other sessions. However, one of the key takeaways for me was this: "Its not about drawing. It's about communicating information." And maybe that will be one of the main themes that I take away from this conference. He talked about his early days in the business of doing visual graphics for magazines and how he would create a fantastic image and the editor would put it aside and say "that's nice but we need something that looks more like this..." And the editor nailed it. Its a humbling experience as you can imagine for a creative person.

The second piece that I remember is that visual graphics designers go through the same issues that training professionals go through. Specifically, someone is always telling them that they need to add more and more stuff into the graphic. And what you end up with is a graphic that's too busy, too splashy, and not focused. The reader has too work too hard to find out what the main idea is.

I think instructional designers attempt to avoid this with objectives. If the content doesn't specifically support one of the main objectives that it doesn't belong in the course...right? Wrong. It gets put in the course when the customer tells you too and you say yes ma'am. But I'm not telling you anything you don't already know...and experience.

Oh yeah! The Power of the 2x2 Matrix. This may be new to everyone, and actually its not new to me because I draw them all the time. But the thing is that I never knew that there were other ways to draw these graphs and use them in so many different situations to visually show others what I mean.

And THAT is what I think is cool about this community. Remember, its NOT about drawing. Its about communicating information. A 2x2 graph is not an intimidating image. Anyone can "draw" a big "L" and put a value on each axis and then fill in the space with data...any data. That's visualization and that's powerful tool.

The last lesson I need to share and write down is the idea of the PROCESS is more important than the final image. The process required to create a image that represents a strategy is what helps you define that strategy and gets everyone on the same page. The final image then simply tells the story of your experience to others who need to know.

Gotta go.

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