Friday, July 18, 2008

Visual Thinking and Ideas Part 2

After getting good comments from Tom and Tom and Christine, plus Ryan Coleman in the VizThink forum about the Visual Thinking and Ideas post, I thought I'd revise the graphic for it. Results below:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Back of the Napkin Digital Mind Map

After creating a hand sketched Back of the Napkin mind map awhile back, I wanted to create it in a digital format that I could easily refer to. Dan Roam recently made some of his tools downloadable on his website, so I decided to create a Flash-based mind map with links to Dan's PDFs. Click on the image below to see the result.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Visual Thinking and Ideas

It's pretty cool living with someone else who's also a visual thinker. Just had lunch with my wife and we were discussing visual thinking and VizThink '08, specifically some of the differences between the work of people like David Sibbet who do a lot of graphic facilitation, and information designers like Karl Gude who create infographics.

Both deal with visualizing ideas and concepts. The difference seems to be that graphic facilitation, graphic recording, sketching, etc. focus on getting ideas and concepts OUT of people heads and capturing them in a visually engaging way that facilitates better ideas and problem solving. In these disciplines, the group process of creating that visual is as important (and one might argue even more important) than the resulting graphic.

On the other hand, the goal of people creating infographics is to get ideas IN to peoples heads. In this process a designer creates a graphic that is then dispersed to a larger audience to aid in understanding an idea or a concept.

I think that understanding the purpose and the goals of the various visual thinking disciplines is important to help us appreciate the values of each.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Visual Thinking Blog Map

There's about a dozen visual thinking blogs/websites that I follow regularly. Most I subscribe to via RSS feed. Some don't have feeds though or they're broken so I thought I'd create a little "map" of these sites in Flash using the logos of each which would link to the site.

While I was at it, I thought I'd organize them by what visual thinking content they primarily focus on using a spectrum of focusing on visual communicating ideas and concepts on the far left to visualizing data and information on the far right. Those that are in the middle are broader in scope. Placement is purely subjective of course. It's skewed a bit heavy on the right. Until I had placed all these I hadn't realized just how biased my visual thinking surfing was. It's odd because I'm actually more interested in visually communicating ideas and concepts than I am information and data. But, it's been easier for me to find sites and blogs relating to information visualization than idea visualization. I'm hoping that VizThink will help raise awareness of idea and concept visualization and that more good sites will become available. And I think the publicity that Dan Roam's "Back of the Napkin" is getting may help along those lines too.

I know there are dozens, if not hundreds, of other web sites and blogs that fall within the visual thinking realm, but these are the small set that focus on. In the interest of rounding it out a bit, I added a more traditional text list below the map.