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Mapping the Way Forward: The Importance of Visualization

About the Talk

April 25, 2015 4:00 PM

Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis, MN

Maps are more than just diagrams of the route from A to B – to draw one is to bring together the whole view of our surrounding world so that we can gain a better understanding of it. Even a single, simple example has the ability to delight, unsettle and reveal truths. In politically-charged environments an objective visual map can reinforce, influence or challenge held perceptions and beliefs, making them a vital tool in designing pliable, people-focused content systems that are fit for purpose. Their proactive and reactive qualities force ourselves and others to see things as they really are; to contemplate the relationship between them and how they vary together. Anything to do with aligning content, process, and people is bound to be tough, messy, and complex.

But remember that we and others who inhabit these environments are not completely constrained by what has happened before. It is a natural reaction of ours to try to order an environment by fitting it into the categories of our expectations. So when we cannot find a way to fit any new ideas and concepts into these simplified slots, it’s really no wonder we experience those sharp pangs of panic. But we and everyone else around us don’t have to rely on the old established categories, we can always create new ones.

Our reserves of intellectual capacity are vast. Perhaps if we’re continually looking upon new ideas and concepts as chaotic and threatening this can only be because we’ve never seriously tried to make use of our potential ability to cope with the unexpected. Believe it or not, we are all amazingly inventive and resourceful, and one of the ways to bring out our innate inventive qualities is to step away from our screens and just draw.

Session Takeaways

  • When, where and how to apply visual maps to the IA and content strategy process.
  • How to employ visual storytelling techniques to design and present impactful and memorable maps.
  • How to inform maps using data and opinions gleaned from investigations, interviews and surveys.

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