Information Design Tool: Vlog

In order to present the information on this blog I’ve used a video tool, Camtasia, along with Adobe illustrator and mapping concepts from Roam’s ‘The Back of the Napkin.’ This video grew out of the need to simplify the information listed below.

Video Information

The map The explanation

There are many tools for information design and many reasons and situations for which information needs to be designed. Some information processes are single step using one tool, some are multi-stepped using a range of tools.

It seems that Information Design tools can be divided into at least 3 categories – I’ll call them Before, After and Simultaneous.

The Before categories include tools that precede the sharing of information design and informs the process, the After category takes that informed information and designs it in order to share it with others and Simultaneous tools can be used to visually examine information and at the same time share it with others.

Roam’s ‘Back of the Napkin’ seems to focus on Before: The first 3 chapters focus on what occurs before information is presented – looking, seeing, evaluating, questioning, gathering, and only after in the fourth chapter does Roam focus on how that information can now be shared with others.

Yvonne Hansen seems to focus on Simultaneous tools – certain specialized group of tools that aid in the thinking and sharing process. These are Graphic Tools and their dual strength comes from their visual component . “Cause-and-effect reasoning is time-bound and linear, whereas chaos can only be understood by observing phenomena with total openness, without labeling them.” (Jacobson, pg. 208) Using six shapes to explore a situation aids in thinking while simultaneously providing useful designed information.

Roam’s mapping can also be used as simultaneous tools.

Sometimes information design is used simply to clarify ‘fuzzy thinking’ or ‘problem’ situations that do not need to be shared with others in which case the necessary tools are the Before tools. Graphic thinking tools can also be used.

Information that is well designed must have the Before and After in order to be effective. No matter which tools you use you need to understand what their purpose is and how they are used and if they further your cause of information design. The After can be fabulous – but they will be a failure without the Before tools.

The inspiration

I chose a video tool for this blog as it seemed the best way to present this complicated information simply. I guess my inspiration came from the Information Design video below. (Except that in the final analysis – I don’t know if the video really simplified things:)

Works Cited

GordoTheHat. “I’m My Own Grandpa – Diagrammed – YouTube  .” YouTube – Broadcast Yourself.  . N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. <;.

Jacobson, Robert E.. Information design. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1999. Print.

Roam, Dan. The back of the napkin: solving problems and selling ideas with pictures : expanded edition. Edition complétée. ed. New York: Portfolio, 2009. Print.

“Roam Image.” Google. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2012. <


8 thoughts on “Information Design Tool: Vlog

  1. I really enjoyed watching your video. You made the information interesting and easier to understand. I appreciate seeing these type of presentations because it introduces me to new ways to present information as I do not have an advanced computer or graphic design background. I also like the clean look of your blog. There are no distractions that make me feel like I have to stop reading mid post. Thanks for the laugh at the end with grandpa – it was very much needed. Pam

    • Glad you enjoyed!
      This was my first video ever so it was an interesting journey, to say the least.
      I’ve added links to the tools that can be used to create a video. Camtasia, the video creating tool was a free 30 day trial, Smooth Draw is a freeware drawing tool and it seems you can buy the tablet for under $50 (I wouldn’t know, I stole mine from my mother:)

  2. Shayna;

    Very creative and unique! What an excellent idea to create your own video. I think the audio really makes a great accompaniment to the video. I also liked the added text under the video supports it and provides great background. You might consider adding the map that you created and explained in the video to the blog post. It would really compliment the information you provide.

    I like the design, it is simple yet effective. The light border of the post background is supportive and not overwhelming. It does not detract from your blog or distract the reader-great choice. The fin information design video description sentence starts with “and” and there is four or five lines of white space that look like something is missing there? The video was cute and certainly humorous. Personally, I am not sure it fits with your content. Perhaps, it is too silly in concept. Just my thought though and I ma sure there are other opinions.

    I think the date and rectangular nature of your post also fit well together. Actually, the design and layout, color and shape, all coordinate and support each other. I think you have designed and excellent blog that your user can easily read, navigate, and learn from.

    Lisa Pimpinella

    • Thank you!
      I’ve added in the map as you suggested, and left in the Grandpa video, as I realized – that video was my inspiration…You’ve got to take it where you can get it!
      Thanks for your kind and detailed comments!

      • Hi

        I love the additions you made and think they really add to the post. The headings you added also make the entire post more clear. Labeling the video at the end as your inspiration defines it now and for me makes more sense. I don’t think I would make the same comment now as I did originally about that video.
        Lisa Pimpinella

      • Dear Lisa,
        I am taking a Internet Marketing course and a case study analysis of Facebook brought to light how many millions of dollars FB makes from people using real currency to purchase virtual gifts. For the life of me I could not understand what they were for – until now.
        You are so positive, so generous, so kind – If I could – I would send you a lovely bunch of virtual flowers to thank you for all the communications between us!
        Thank you for filling this online course with light!

  3. Shayna- this post is great- and true. If you skip your before tools, your after isn’t going to look too great. That’s why I’ve started charging the most for the research part of my design projects- I think it has the largest impact on the end design. And as everyone else here has commented on the clean, neat layout of your blog, I’ll just add my own agreement to their views. It’s easily readable and pleasant on the eye- but the best part of it is the content. And I love the little bits of humor you stick in- that Grandpa diagram had me chuckling! Keep up the great work.

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