As you probably figured out if you follow @HASTAC on Twitter, I had the pleasure of attending South by Southwest Interactive this year, along with colleague Mandy Dailey. I went to over 15 different panels and talks, and most were excellent. We did a lot of live-tweeting during the sessions, and I hope to write up a quick summary of my favorites.
Only one session inspired me to actually take notes and it was the shortest one I attended. Visual Problem Solving: 5 Diagrams in 15 Minutes was led by Dean Meyers who quickly demonstrated the use of 5 techniques for visualizing thought processes. I consider myself a mostly-visual thinker, but Im also pretty linear/logical in my thought (and I can't draw at all) so Im a big fan of diagrams. I was familiar with most of these examples, but I really appreciated how they were presented as a toolbox, with the different advantages and features of each.
So with no further delay: here are my notes from this session. Sorry I havent had time to illustrate it visually as I should, so I am scanning in Deans hand out
- Mind map
Starting with one central concept and iteratively branch out into related ideas, next steps, etc.
The SWOT matrix is a common example of this.
Two axes, eg strengths-weaknesses and opportunities-threats. includes opinions of the items (as opposed to mind map).
- System map
Like a Venn digram. Circles may be separate, overlapping, nested.
- Force field
Start with a big T, and create horizontal bars using the vert axis, showing how far each item is on the left or right of the scale. eg: Driving vs. restraining factors.
Can also use number values & add them up at the bottom.
Shapes with arrows, can also use photographs to illustrate, post-it notes for flexibility (can change or move them around).
- Personally, I love OmniGraffle for diagramming, but its Mac OS only and not free. Xmind was also recommended as an open source mind mapping tool. Wikipedia had a long list of tools which I should check out: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_UML_tools
- Check out Memory Jogger, PMBoK. goalqpc.com
- Awesome periodic table of visualization methods. www.visual-literacy.org/periodic_table/periodic_table.html