March 4th, 2009
For almost ten years, the research team at UIE has been searching to uncover the secrets behind great designs. As we talk to team after team, a key truth continues to emerge: The best teams communicate internally really well, while those teams that struggle also struggle at their internal communication.
When we think of a team that communicates, the first things that comes to mind are hallway conversations, meetings, and emails. But, as our research continues to show, are only a part of the communication puzzle.
It turns out that one of the differences between the successful teams and the struggling teams is their use of diagrams and maps. Struggling teams almost always try to communicate important design ideas through talking or word-based documents, while the successful teams put a heavy emphasis on diagrams.
Often times, these diagrams become living documents — things the team revisits and updates frequently. And it’s the process of discussing and modifying that makes the inherent design concepts clear.
In today’s article, In Which a Concept Model Makes Me Giddy, Dan Brown shares with us one of his favorite diagramming tools: The Concept Map. Dan, who wrote the now classic book, Communicating Design: Developing Web Site Documentation for Design and Planning, recommends concept maps to help team members visualize the relationships between a design’s components and the people who use it. Whether you are new to concept maps or have been using them in your work for a while, I think you’ll find Dan’s thinking behind them as fascinating as I do.
I’m really excited about Dan’s full-day seminar at the UIE Web App Summit. His session, Communicating Design: Essential Deliverables for Highly Effective Design Teams, is sure to be one of the audience favorites. You don’t want to miss this hit session.
Have you tried concept maps for your team? Have you discovered ways to communicate through diagrams? Share your experiences with us below.Tweet