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.
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.
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:)
GordoTheHat. “I’m My Own Grandpa – Diagrammed – YouTube .” YouTube – Broadcast Yourself. . N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qu_Y1wQ923g&feature=related>.
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 compleÌteÌe. ed. New York: Portfolio, 2009. Print.
“Roam Image.” Google. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2012. <http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&sa=N&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS425US425&authuser=0&biw=