Picture this

25 08 2010

The conversion of a project memo to a map this week reminded me of just how effective visuals can be. As a construction project I am working on gets underway, the management¬† team requested a weekly report of planned activities. Originally formatted as a memo, it looked like just another list of hard to read (do I have time to read?) items. After some consultation with me and the project graphic designer, the report was reformatted to a map with corresponding numbers to identify the location of each work item. The piece received ooohs and aaahs from the team during this week’s management meeting!

As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” In our media-saturated society, the information conveyed by a visual at a glance is so vital to effective communication. We are also growing more and more accustomed to customizing our information by selecting what we want to pay attention to. The linear format of a narrative memo just doesn’t speak to people. We don’t have time or patience to wade through all the information. We want to be able to quickly ascertain what pertains to us. Use of visual tools is key to helping people sort out information and find what’s relevant.

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