The Importance of Visualisation – Mapping the Way Forward

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Maps are more than just diagrams of the route from A to B – to draw one is to bring together the whole view of our surrounding world so that we can gain a better understanding of it. Even a single, …

Maps are more than just diagrams of the route from A to B – to draw one is to bring together the whole view of our surrounding world so that we can gain a better understanding of it. Even a single, simple example has the ability to delight, unsettle and reveal truths. In politically-charged environments an objective visual map can reinforce, influence or challenge held perceptions and beliefs, making them a vital tool in designing pliable, people-focused content systems that are fit for purpose. Their proactive and reactive qualities force ourselves and others to see things as they really are; to contemplate the relationship between them and how they vary together.

Presented at the Content Strategy Forum 2013 in Helsinki, Finland on 13th September 2013.

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  • 1. MAPPING THE WAY FORWARD The importance of visualisation - Richard Ingram @richardjingram Friday, 13 September 13
  • 2. ©TrusteesoftheBritish Museum Babylonian map of the world Clay tablet, probably from Sippar, southern Iraq (c.700-500 BC) Babylon Friday, 13 September 13
  • 3. ©TrusteesoftheBritish Museum Hereford Mappa Mundi (‘Sheet of the World’) Inked parchment, the largest medieval map known to still exist (c.1300) London Edinburgh Friday, 13 September 13
  • 4. Friday, 13 September 13
  • 5. Administrative Friday, 13 September 13
  • 6. Administrative Social Friday, 13 September 13
  • 7. Administrative Social Military Friday, 13 September 13
  • 8. Administrative Social Military Political Friday, 13 September 13
  • 9. Walt Disney’s business map,1957 Depicts a central film asset and its supporting entertainment assets Friday, 13 September 13
  • 10. Growth of Las Vegas, NV 1984–2012 Google Earth timelapse constructed from satellite imagery Friday, 13 September 13
  • 11. Radial hierarchical organisation structure About as complex and contradictory as its name suggests Friday, 13 September 13
  • 12. John Rocque's map of London, 1746 Rocque deliberately left out the city’s unsavoury elements Friday, 13 September 13
  • 13. John Rocque's map of London, 1746 Rocque deliberately left out the city’s unsavoury elements Friday, 13 September 13
  • 14. John Rocque's map of London, 1746 Rocque deliberately left out the city’s unsavoury elements Friday, 13 September 13
  • 15. Map of organisation-wide content distribution Or that giant hairball the cat coughed up yesterday. Equally yucky. Friday, 13 September 13
  • 16. MAPPING OUT A STORY Beyond physical geography - Friday, 13 September 13
  • 17. Wabash river Ohio river Mississippi river ©TrusteesoftheBritish Museum Native North American buckskin map Possibly used in land negotiations with the British (c.1744) Friday, 13 September 13
  • 18. Distribution Distance Overlap Direction N A B C A B Friday, 13 September 13
  • 19. LIGHT HEAT SUN gives gives Exploded view Concept map Different maps, same basic building blocks Friday, 13 September 13
  • 20. Topological map Star map Different maps, same basic building blocks Friday, 13 September 13
  • 21. North South EastWest Find your coordinate system Anything can be mapped using pairs of opposites Friday, 13 September 13
  • 22. Expensive Cheap Slow Fast Find your coordinate system Anything can be mapped using pairs of opposites Friday, 13 September 13
  • 23. High Low Small Large Find your coordinate system Anything can be mapped using pairs of opposites Friday, 13 September 13
  • 24. N Plot your landmarks Start with the most prominent feature, then move outward Friday, 13 September 13
  • 25. N Plot your landmarks Start with the most prominent feature, then move outward Friday, 13 September 13
  • 26. N Plot your landmarks Start with the most prominent feature, then move outward Friday, 13 September 13
  • 27. FINDING OUR WAY The unfamiliar environment - Friday, 13 September 13
  • 28. Content ProcessesPeople Tackling that complex trinity Content governance is an important tool for this end Friday, 13 September 13
  • 29. web
  • 30.   site? We
  • 31.   use
  • 32.    ‘website’ Oh
  • 33.   well
  • 34.   ... ✓ ✗ Maintaining content consistency is hard Particularly when many contributors have other responsibilities Style
  • 35.   query Content
  • 36.   Control
  • 37.   filter Publish
  • 38.   to
  • 39.   web web-site? Friday, 13 September 13
  • 40. Regional English Council Approx. 15,000 staff 7 departments Serving approx. 700,000 people Scenario: Design a new content workflow Friday, 13 September 13
  • 41. Digital Services department (Our heroes) Our varied, siloed environment Some departments are responsible for 100s of pages, while others only a few Friday, 13 September 13
  • 42. Follow
  • 43.    me! Map Expert guide (Mandy) Our varied, siloed environment How to find our bearings in unfamiliar surroundings Friday, 13 September 13
  • 44. Our varied, siloed environment To discover how content decisions are made and how they could be improved, we need to figure out who best to talk to Mandy ? ?? ? ? Friday, 13 September 13
  • 45. Let’s map our environment Digital Services Chief Executive's Corporate
  • 46.    Resources Children and
  • 47.   Young People Adults
  • 48.   &
  • 49.    Communities Environment
  • 50.    and
  • 51.    Transport Community
  • 52.    Planning We’ll begin by marking out each of the seven departments Friday, 13 September 13
  • 53. LargeSmall Fast Slow Let’s devise our coordinate system Digital Services Chief Executive's Corporate
  • 54.    Resources Children and
  • 55.   Young People Adults
  • 56.   &
  • 57.    Communities Environment
  • 58.    and
  • 59.    Transport Community
  • 60.    Planning Friday, 13 September 13
  • 61. LargeSmall Fast Slow We’re on the move! What can we see? Digital Services Chief Executive's Corporate
  • 62.    Resources Children and
  • 63.   Young People Adults
  • 64.   &
  • 65.    Communities Environment
  • 66.    and
  • 67.    Transport Community
  • 68.    Planning Friday, 13 September 13
  • 69. LargeSmall Fast Slow We’re on the move! What can we see? Digital Services Chief Executive's Corporate
  • 70.    Resources Children and
  • 71.   Young People Adults
  • 72.   &
  • 73.    Communities Environment
  • 74.    and
  • 75.    Transport Community
  • 76.    Planning Friday, 13 September 13
  • 77. LargeSmall Fast Slow Digital Services Chief Executive's Children and
  • 78.   Young People Community
  • 79.    Planning Adults
  • 80.   &
  • 81.    Communities Corporate
  • 82.    Resources Let’s map those pathways Environment
  • 83.    and
  • 84.    Transport Friday, 13 September 13
  • 85. LargeSmall Fast Slow Digital Services Chief Executive's Children and
  • 86.   Young People Community
  • 87.    Planning Adults
  • 88.   &
  • 89.    Communities Corporate
  • 90.    Resources What can our marked pathways tell us? Environment
  • 91.    and
  • 92.    Transport FASTER SLOWER Friday, 13 September 13
  • 93. LargeSmall Fast Slow Digital Services Chief Executive's Children and
  • 94.   Young People Community
  • 95.    Planning Adults
  • 96.   &
  • 97.    Communities Corporate
  • 98.    Resources Where are the opportunities for improvement? Environment
  • 99.    and
  • 100.    Transport Friday, 13 September 13
  • 101. LargeSmall Fast Slow Digital Services Chief Executive's Children and
  • 102.   Young People Community
  • 103.    Planning Adults
  • 104.   &
  • 105.    Communities Corporate
  • 106.    Resources Our map: Simple, but effective Environment
  • 107.    and
  • 108.    Transport Friday, 13 September 13
  • 109. MAPPING OUT A PROCESS The unfamiliar environment - Friday, 13 September 13
  • 110. Requirements for an effective CMS workflow Meet the needs of the organisation and your content players Friday, 13 September 13
  • 111. Conducting content player interviews Ask them to walk you through several different content creation and publishing scenarios Digital Services Mandy Content Officer Friday, 13 September 13
  • 112. The ensuing conversation Mandy talks us through the typical process for publishing a press release on the council website On
  • 113.   Monday
  • 114.   I
  • 115.   received
  • 116.   a
  • 117.   request
  • 118.   from
  • 119.    John,
  • 120.   Highways
  • 121.   Manager
  • 122.   at
  • 123.   the
  • 124.    Environment
  • 125.   and
  • 126.   Transport
  • 127.    department,
  • 128.   to
  • 129.   publish
  • 130.   a
  • 131.   press
  • 132.   release
  • 133.    to
  • 134.   inform
  • 135.   the
  • 136.   community
  • 137.   of
  • 138.   the
  • 139.   start
  • 140.    of
  • 141.   major
  • 142.   road
  • 143.   improvement
  • 144.   work. I
  • 145.   first
  • 146.   called
  • 147.   Helen,
  • 148.   Technical
  • 149.   Services
  • 150.    Manager
  • 151.   at
  • 152.   the
  • 153.   Environment
  • 154.   and
  • 155.    Transport
  • 156.   department,
  • 157.   who
  • 158.   emailed
  • 159.    through
  • 160.   the
  • 161.   source
  • 162.   material
  • 163.   and
  • 164.    directed
  • 165.   me
  • 166.   on
  • 167.   the
  • 168.   technical
  • 169.   details
  • 170.    that
  • 171.   needed
  • 172.   to
  • 173.   be
  • 174.   included. Friday, 13 September 13
  • 175. The ensuing conversation cont. Mandy talks us through the typical process for publishing a press release on the council website After
  • 176.   completing
  • 177.   the
  • 178.   draft
  • 179.   in
  • 180.   the
  • 181.   CMS
  • 182.    environment,
  • 183.   I
  • 184.   marked
  • 185.   the
  • 186.   press
  • 187.    release
  • 188.   as
  • 189.   'ready
  • 190.   for
  • 191.   review'
  • 192.   and
  • 193.    emailed
  • 194.   Rachael,
  • 195.   a
  • 196.   Content
  • 197.   Manager
  • 198.   and
  • 199.    colleague
  • 200.   in
  • 201.   the
  • 202.   Digital
  • 203.   Services
  • 204.   team,
  • 205.    and
  • 206.   Helen
  • 207.   again
  • 208.   for
  • 209.   their
  • 210.   feedback.
  • 211.    After
  • 212.   one
  • 213.   or
  • 214.   two
  • 215.   line
  • 216.   edits,
  • 217.   I
  • 218.   was
  • 219.    ready
  • 220.   to
  • 221.   mark
  • 222.   the
  • 223.   press
  • 224.   release
  • 225.   as
  • 226.    'ready
  • 227.   for
  • 228.   publishing',
  • 229.   so
  • 230.   I
  • 231.   emailed
  • 232.    David,
  • 233.   a
  • 234.   Digital
  • 235.   Media
  • 236.   Officer
  • 237.   to
  • 238.    prepare
  • 239.   and
  • 240.   publish
  • 241.   the
  • 242.   press
  • 243.   release
  • 244.   to
  • 245.    the
  • 246.   test
  • 247.   server. Friday, 13 September 13
  • 248. The ensuing conversation cont. Mandy is still talking us through the typical process for publishing a press release on the council website John,
  • 249.   Helen
  • 250.   and
  • 251.   Rachael
  • 252.   were
  • 253.   all
  • 254.   emailed
  • 255.    to
  • 256.   help
  • 257.   me
  • 258.   perform
  • 259.   a
  • 260.   second
  • 261.   review
  • 262.   of
  • 263.    the
  • 264.   content,
  • 265.   where
  • 266.   they
  • 267.   duly
  • 268.   approved
  • 269.    its
  • 270.   publishing
  • 271.   to
  • 272.   the
  • 273.   public
  • 274.   website.
  • 275.    David
  • 276.   then
  • 277.   got
  • 278.   all
  • 279.   the
  • 280.   glory
  • 281.   as
  • 282.   usual
  • 283.   by
  • 284.    hitting
  • 285.   the
  • 286.   button
  • 287.   marked
  • 288.   'publish'. I’m
  • 289.   completely
  • 290.   lost.
  • 291.   Let’s
  • 292.   make
  • 293.   a
  • 294.   map. Friday, 13 September 13
  • 295. Who are the players in our story? Mandy Content
  • 296.   Officer John Highways
  • 297.   Manager Helen Technical
  • 298.   Services
  • 299.   Manager Rachael Content
  • 300.   Manager David Digital
  • 301.   Media
  • 302.   Officer Friday, 13 September 13
  • 303. Mandy Content
  • 304.    Officer John Highways
  • 305.    Manager Helen Technical
  • 306.    Services
  • 307.    Manager Rachael Content
  • 308.    Manager David Digital
  • 309.    Media
  • 310.    Officer Environment
  • 311.   and
  • 312.   TransportDigital
  • 313.   Services MAKE
  • 314.    REQUEST SOURCE MATERIAL PROVIDE MATERIAL CREATE DRAFT REVIEW DRAFT REVIEW DRAFT REVIEW DRAFT EDIT DRAFT PUBLISH
  • 315.    TO
  • 316.   TEST SERVER REVIEW
  • 317.   & APPROVE REVIEW
  • 318.   & APPROVE REVIEW
  • 319.   & APPROVE REVIEW PUBLISH
  • 320.    TO
  • 321.   WEB Friday, 13 September 13
  • 322. Mandy Content
  • 323.    Officer John Highways
  • 324.    Manager Helen Technical
  • 325.    Services
  • 326.    Manager Rachael Content
  • 327.    Manager David Digital
  • 328.    Media
  • 329.    Officer Environment
  • 330.   and
  • 331.   TransportDigital
  • 332.   Services MAKE
  • 333.    REQUEST SOURCE MATERIAL PROVIDE MATERIAL CREATE DRAFT REVIEW DRAFT REVIEW DRAFT REVIEW DRAFT EDIT DRAFT PUBLISH
  • 334.    TO
  • 335.   TEST SERVER REVIEW
  • 336.   & APPROVE REVIEW
  • 337.   & APPROVE REVIEW
  • 338.   & APPROVE REVIEW PUBLISH
  • 339.    TO
  • 340.   WEB Friday, 13 September 13
  • 341. Mandy Content
  • 342.    Officer John Highways
  • 343.    Manager Helen Technical
  • 344.    Services
  • 345.    Manager Rachael Content
  • 346.    Manager David Digital
  • 347.    Media
  • 348.    Officer Environment
  • 349.   and
  • 350.   TransportDigital
  • 351.   Services MAKE
  • 352.    REQUEST SOURCE MATERIAL PROVIDE MATERIAL CREATE DRAFT REVIEW DRAFT REVIEW DRAFT REVIEW DRAFT EDIT DRAFT PUBLISH
  • 353.    TO
  • 354.   TEST SERVER REVIEW
  • 355.   & APPROVE REVIEW
  • 356.   & APPROVE REVIEW
  • 357.   & APPROVE REVIEW PUBLISH
  • 358.    TO
  • 359.   WEB Friday, 13 September 13
  • 360. Mandy Content
  • 361.    Officer John Highways
  • 362.    Manager Helen Technical
  • 363.    Services
  • 364.    Manager Rachael Content
  • 365.    Manager David Digital
  • 366.    Media
  • 367.    Officer Environment
  • 368.   and
  • 369.   TransportDigital
  • 370.   Services MAKE
  • 371.    REQUEST SOURCE MATERIAL PROVIDE MATERIAL CREATE DRAFT REVIEW DRAFT REVIEW DRAFT REVIEW DRAFT EDIT DRAFT PUBLISH
  • 372.    TO
  • 373.   TEST SERVER REVIEW
  • 374.   & APPROVE REVIEW
  • 375.   & APPROVE REVIEW
  • 376.   & APPROVE REVIEW PUBLISH
  • 377.    TO
  • 378.   WEB WHY
  • 379.   THE
  • 380.   DELAYS? Friday, 13 September 13
  • 381. Mandy Content
  • 382.    Officer John Highways
  • 383.    Manager Helen Technical
  • 384.    Services
  • 385.    Manager Rachael Content
  • 386.    Manager David Digital
  • 387.    Media
  • 388.    Officer Environment
  • 389.   and
  • 390.   TransportDigital
  • 391.   Services MAKE
  • 392.    REQUEST SOURCE MATERIAL PROVIDE MATERIAL CREATE DRAFT REVIEW DRAFT REVIEW DRAFT REVIEW DRAFT EDIT DRAFT PUBLISH
  • 393.    TO
  • 394.   TEST SERVER REVIEW
  • 395.   & APPROVE REVIEW
  • 396.   & APPROVE REVIEW
  • 397.   & APPROVE REVIEW PUBLISH
  • 398.    TO
  • 399.   WEB CMS
  • 400.   INTERACTIONS Friday, 13 September 13
  • 401. LargeSmall Fast Slow Digital Services Chief Executive's Children and
  • 402.   Young People Community
  • 403.    Planning Adults
  • 404.   &
  • 405.    Communities Corporate
  • 406.    Resources Breaking down the department Environment
  • 407.    and
  • 408.    Transport Transportation Environment Highways Helen Technical
  • 409.    Services
  • 410.    Manager Friday, 13 September 13
  • 411. LargeSmall Fast Slow Digital Services Chief Executive's Children and
  • 412.   Young People Community
  • 413.    Planning Adults
  • 414.   &
  • 415.    Communities Corporate
  • 416.    Resources Why is John’s sub-department failing? Environment
  • 417.    and
  • 418.    Transport Transportation Environment Highways Helen Technical
  • 419.    Services
  • 420.    Manager John Highways
  • 421.    Manager I
  • 422.   have
  • 423.   no
  • 424.    access
  • 425.   to
  • 426.   the
  • 427.    central
  • 428.   CMS! Friday, 13 September 13
  • 429. LargeSmall Fast Slow Digital Services Chief Executive's Children and
  • 430.   Young People Community
  • 431.    Planning Adults
  • 432.   &
  • 433.    Communities Corporate
  • 434.    Resources CMS workarounds adding unnecessary time and cost Environment
  • 435.    and
  • 436.    Transport Transportation Environment Highways Helen Technical
  • 437.    Services
  • 438.    Manager John Highways
  • 439.    Manager I
  • 440.   have
  • 441.   no
  • 442.    access
  • 443.   to
  • 444.   the
  • 445.    central
  • 446.   CMS! Friday, 13 September 13
  • 447. LargeSmall Fast Slow Digital Services Chief Executive's Children and
  • 448.   Young People Community
  • 449.    Planning Adults
  • 450.   &
  • 451.    Communities Corporate
  • 452.    Resources Where else could improvements be made? Environment
  • 453.    and
  • 454.    Transport Community
  • 455.    Planning Chief Executive's Children and
  • 456.   Young People Corporate
  • 457.    Resources Environment
  • 458.    and
  • 459.    Transport Adults
  • 460.   &
  • 461.    Communities SPEED
  • 462.   UP
  • 463.    PROCESSES =
  • 464.   POTENTIAL SAVINGS Friday, 13 September 13
  • 465. MAPPING THE WAY FORWARD The power of drawing - Friday, 13 September 13
  • 466. Remember: We are not completely bound by what has happened before Content ProcessesPeople Balancing that complex trinity Friday, 13 September 13
  • 467. Suggestion: let’s not always rely on the old established categories, we can always invent new ones New ideas won’t always fit neatly 
  • 468.   
  • 469.   
  • 470.   
  • 471.   
  • 472.   ?!? Friday, 13 September 13
  • 473. Suggestion: let’s not always rely on the old established categories, we can always invent new ones New ideas won’t always fit neatly 
  • 474.   
  • 475.   
  • 476.   
  • 477.   
  • 478.   Aha! Friday, 13 September 13
  • 479. Suggestion: let’s all step away from our screens and draw together. Encourage those innate inventive qualities Friday, 13 September 13
  • 480. Make use of basic shapes, arrows, and faces. Find your axis. Above all: Embrace your mistakes. Mapmaking is a basic human instinct Friday, 13 September 13
  • 481. KIITOS ! / THANK YOU ! Richard Ingram @richardjingram ringram@ingserv.com www.ingserv.com +44 1424 205 383 Friday, 13 September 13
  • 482. Communicating Design: Developing Web Site Documentation for Design and Planning by Dan M. Brown (@brownorama) You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination by Katharine Harmon Blah Blah Blah: What To Do When Words Don't Work by Dan Roam (@dan_roam) The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures by Dan Roam Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer by PeterTurchi Recommended reading Friday, 13 September 13
  • 483. You have been watching... David Helen John Mandy Me Mr
  • 484.   Ed Rachael Friday, 13 September 13