Information Design Process

Write a post on your blog that explains the process of Information Design that have been discussed in this module’s readings. Are there any steps you would add to the process? How do you think the process can be improved?  What do you believe to be the most important step of the process? These are just some of the questions you can ask yourself. In your blog post, also outline what you have done so far or plan to do at each step of the process in your blog.

When your blog post is complete, return to this forum and create a new topic to share the URL of your post. Then visit at least two classmates’ blogs and respond to their M3 post.


I’ve thought long and hard how to answer this question.  I’m not sure I can do it justice, but we’ll see as I’m learning  that I am leaning towards the visuals rather than the words of the texts.  I am not a huge fan of outlining because I tend to go overboard with it by getting too caught up in the details and not give what is truly needed.  I think this is my biggest setback when I have tried to follow a blueprint/outline to writing a story.  I get stuck on the minuscule details and lose the flow.  Aside from that the chapters from Roam seem awfully close to home in regards to my jobs process of their plan for the non-profit company I work for.  I’ve mentioned that my employer implemented a plan in hopes of improving the effectiveness of their Mission.  I think the way it was given to the employees that it was a huge blazing sign of a lot of changes to come that could result in layoffs.  I have to be frank here and looking at what Roam discusses with hierarchy and blueprints in a business context is rather alarming when using this against my current employer.  We have a huge organizational chart.  I could use it here, but it is rights protected.  We are stationed all over the world but operates primarily out of Maryknoll, New York.  Yes, they have their own city/town and zip code.  They can’t completely go out of business, but they can downsize and at a rapid pace.  We are run by Society members who are Brothers or Fathers, but they are dwindling at a very rapid rate.  They have let in very few younger generation Fathers and Brothers.  I would think this has to do with the generations not focusing too much on a belief system than the technological world we are more and more each day facing.  Suffice it to say, the younger generation doesn’t care much for religion or mission.  They believe more in helping and aiding others through other non-profit needs.  I am starting to think they need someone like Dan Roam to come in and revamp the entire Society.  What that could mean for my job and contribution, I’d rather not think about, for now.

So, even though, ironically, the information from Dan Roam’s The Back of the Napkin has been informative in my case with my current employer it has been quite telling in regards to the structure of business’s as a whole. As I contemplated this I came across this picture while searching the net:

I have learned a great deal about Dan Roam’s 6 W’s and <6><6> (What we see and what we show) methods.  Within each step, he has a process that determines where on the hierarchy or structure each individual stands and that even someone on the low totem pole can be the missing link to someone of a higher level.  It was almost like an outside looking in concept to help improve the efficiency of the company.  With the above visual I can see this being a very big process should I move further into another field in my career.  That we need to sort out the details to get the bigger picture.  This is what my first step would entail.  Unfortunately, in some cases it might look a bit sloppy and fairly disorganized:

However, with the method of SQVID and <6><6> there can be a determined framework to fix the mess that was piling from the start.  I think with the previous chapters in Part 2 Lila was an excellent example of how she came in to reorganize and basically get rid of the trash.  My weakest of the 6 W’s is about compiling everything and sorting through the mess.  I would get lost in the details.  However, the who/what, meaning that we saw objects that we recognize because of the distinct visual qualities: their components, shape, proportion, size, color, texture, etc.  These provide the starting point by helping us identify and keep track of who is who and what is what. (Roam pg.144)  Considering this for a moment Who/What plays an intricate role and the most important.  It is the seed or the stem of the entire network.  The simple versus the elaborate.  I’ve seen a great comparison of an apple used quite frequently in each of the models Roam uses.  From a seed to a full-grown apple, to either eaten to the core, made into a pie then eaten.  It is a process just like in the business world.  You have you, your client, customers, and teams.  With an apple, it starts as a seed then develops into a grown apple to be harvested and eaten.  It can branch out to many different ways to how an apple can be used.  The same can be said for a company and it’s hierarchy.  Then when the mess clears there’s a better understanding of who/what the company is and about.  You then begin to get a bigger picture of what you need and what to improve.  Which brings me to the next portion how much?  This portion of the 6 W’s is not my favorite as I’m not a big number’s person, but love to input those number’s.  With this I found this to help me better understand the 6 W’s:

That in the end you have to know exactly how many or how much you need in order to get to where, when, and to think later on who they link or why it works like that.

The key elements:

The above two images are essentially the same concept.  The top one shows how the process is continuous while the bottom image shows just the process.  Frankly, Roam’s idea of drawing the idea out has merit.  I would most likely do as the book suggested and draw out my visuals but tack on words with those visuals.  I guess that is why I was in the yellow pen category.  I can’t draw, but…  The above to me suggest a few things:

  • Research and discover what or who you need
  • Synthesis by defining and ideating your structure/scope/scenario, wireframes/flowcharts, with sensemaking and visualizing information
  • Prototype and testing – generating and testing concepts
  • Iteration by revising prototypes based on user observations internal/external

Within these steps of organizing and collecting data that was gathered in some strategic or creative way that will inspire, not only for brainstorming but effective thinking.

I think the perfect example for me in this situation could be this WordPress page, but idealistically I think my LiveJournal page might be more effective.

Who or What am I targeting?

I think the better term is People are a part of the Puzzle they help piece together what makes up LiveJournal so successful just as Blogger and WordPress has.

My LiveJournal page is primarily used for creative works, a journal of thoughts, and for my peers to read.  I belong to quite a few communities and friends of those communities who express thoughts and read anything of mine that I have publicized for their viewing.  My target audience is those who are writers, artists, or peers.  My journal is locked to others.

How much and Why?

I generally use this site when my creative muse is inspired.  It also helps me to see others in my community embrace their creative side so that I can respond and interact with them.  It does cost to use if you don’t want to have unnecessary ads, but it’s really only if you are on the site excessively that I would recommend purchasing.  As for why?  It helps the creative juices flow and extends a branch out to those who have like interests and a love for writing.

Where and When?

Where is simply the site I go to and when is how often I use it.

The bigger questions would be: Why do it and Why it works like this?

I think given the fact that we live in this world that we might not all be satisfied by what we are given we tend to embrace our creative sides to try to better what we have seen or heard by giving our own views on them.  Whether it is a fan based story, picture, or thoughtful words, or a blog solely to reviewing works, things, or etc.  It is there for all to use.  It works to bring others together through words and pictures.  Not a bad concept, I think.  Considering the background work that involves this site, I have to wonder about the testing and tech aspects they endure on a daily basis.

In conclusion, I hope I walked away with some concept of this subject matter.  I think I have a clearer understanding of it and wish I could have these methods used in my employers planning for their new Plan for our Society.  Alas, maybe I should point them in Dan Roam’s direction on how to build a better Society?  Something to think about!

As I have bombarded this Post with lots of visuals I will now end with this in closing that found rather chaotic, but well in the spectrum of what Dan Roam wants a comic page on Visual Thinking:

The above image embodies want I see is the thought process of Visual Thinking and how it can relate to Dan Roam’s 6 W’s and his process of what we see and what we show by developing ideas.


All images above have links embedded

Baer, Kim, and Jill Vacarra. Information Design Workbook: Graphic Approaches, Solutions, and Inspiration 30 Case Studies. Beverly, Mass.: Rockport, 2008. Print.

Cross, Neal. “M3 Instructor Commentary.” Moodle: Authentication Choice. State University of New York Empire State College. Web. 6 Nov. 2015.

Roam, Dan. The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures. New York: Portfolio, 2008. Print.


Posted on November 7, 2015, in ESC, School and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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