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Using Abstraction to Increase Clarity

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Abstraction can be used at the beginning of a project to facilitate communication and reflection in order to establish a shared framework. This clarifies goals for decision makers and gives direction to the production team – preventing the project from getting stuck in the weeds.

In our everyday work, as people who create digital products, we are under a lot of pressure from clients/employers to produce concrete outputs – often with little clarity concerning goals. This leads to stress and ineffectual outcomes.

Looking at the course of human history, people have always used methods of abstraction to make sense of a complicated world (like mapmakers). As IAs we can take advantage of this natural human tactic to abstract the complex, in order to bring clarity to our work by using tools such as maps, blueprints, and personas.

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Using Abstraction to Increase Clarity

  1. 1. Using Abstraction to Increase ClarityKaarin HoffInformation Architect, The Understanding Group (TUG)#AbstractionforClarity #AbstractionforClarity
  2. 2. Abstraction: the intentional filtering of information to focus aconversation on the core goal(s) #AbstractionforClarity
  3. 3. #AbstractionforClarityhttp://iqcontent.com/blog/2009/11/dublins-new-subway-system-well-subway-map/
  4. 4. #AbstractionforClarityhttp://www.tokyometro.jp/en/subwaymap/pdf/routemap_en.pdf
  5. 5. Abstraction Best Practices• If its going to distract from the conversation, don’t include it• Use a model that fits the information, not vice versa• Clearer: not necessarily less, could even be more • Allow your models to combine information from multiple sources #AbstractionforClarity
  6. 6. Too often we are asked to jump to the detailed #AbstractionforClarity
  7. 7. Thoughtfully using abstractions can avoid a lotof this pain and keep projects from getting stuck in prior assumptions #AbstractionforClarity
  8. 8. We must choose carefully the model we use to facilitate conversations #AbstractionforClarity
  9. 9. We must choose carefully the model through which we hold conversations Marriot #AbstractionforClarity
  10. 10. We must choose carefully the model through which we hold conversations http://ffffound.com/home/vvva/found/ #AbstractionforClarity
  11. 11. We must choose carefully the model through which we hold conversations www.google.com #AbstractionforClarity
  12. 12. We must choose carefully the model through which we hold conversations #AbstractionforClarity
  13. 13. We must choose carefully the model through which we hold conversations Employment | News | Contact Us | Investor Relations EdR Logo NYSE-EDR: 1.03% Services Services Properties About EdR Home > Services Financing Introductory content about the variety of services available and the customization that is available, exclusively through EdR Trust. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing Development elit. Duis laoreet egestas neque, quis viverra ipsum vehicula ac. • Sed non justo odio. Acquisitions • Phasellus eleifend vulputate tellus sed varius. • Integer blandit tempus volutpat. Property Management Sed adipiscing consequat lobortis. Donec ultrices, erat vitae posuere porttitor, felis velit tempus magna, vel venenatis neque lectus in eros. Nam vitae pharetra dui. Etiam tellus velit, mattis a Case Studies pulvinar nec, gravida id nunc. Financing Development Acquisitions Property Management Abbreviated content specific to Abbreviated content specific to Abbreviated content specific to Abbreviated content specific to each service offering. Lorem each service offering. Lorem each service offering. Lorem each service offering. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Duis laoreet adipiscing elit. Duis laoreet adipiscing elit. Duis laoreet adipiscing elit. Duis laoreet egestas neque, quis viverra ipsum egestas neque, quis viverra ipsum egestas neque, quis viverra ipsum egestas neque, quis viverra ipsum vehicula ac. vehicula ac. vehicula ac. vehicula ac. Learn more about Financing Learn more about Development Learn more about Acquisitions Learn more about Property Management #AbstractionforClarity
  14. 14. We must choose carefully the model through which we hold conversations #AbstractionforClarity
  15. 15. Customer Journey Example #AbstractionforClarity
  16. 16. Concrete User See the things User they expected to ? see. Do the thing Stakeholder they already User wanted to do. User #AbstractionforClarity
  17. 17. Abstractions help stakeholders DISCOVER #AbstractionforClarity
  18. 18. Concrete Abstracted Plausible Improbable Narrative User Visual Client X Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Customer Journey Example 1 External Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna User aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation 8 ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit IA anim id est laborum. Property #3 3 2 10 Nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa 9 qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. 3 Brain Chapter 1: Something happens 5 5 Property #2 Nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. 6 Chapter 2: Something else happens 4 Nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea 7 commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Property #1 4 2 11 User 1 12 User #AbstractionforClarity
  19. 19. Client X Chapter 1 Chapter 2Customer Journey Example 1 ExternalLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, seddo eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magnaaliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation 8ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duisaute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillumdolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecatcupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollitanim id est laborum. Property #3 3 2 10Nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex eacommodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit involuptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa 9qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. 3Chapter 1: Something happens 5 5 Property #2Nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex eacommodo consequat. Nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisiut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. 6Chapter 2: Something else happens 4Nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea 7commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit involuptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpaqui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Property #1 4 2 11 12 1 #AbstractionforClarity
  20. 20. Chapter 1 Chapter 2 1External 8Property #3 3 2 10 9 3 5 5Property #2 6 4 7Property #1 4 2 11 #AbstractionforClarity 12 1
  21. 21. Client X Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Customer Journey Example 1 IA External Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation 8 ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Brain Property #3 IA 3 2 10 Nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in Stakeholder voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa 9 qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. 3Brain Chapter 1: Something happens 5 5 Property #2 Nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. 6 Chapter 2: Something else happens 4 Nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea 7 commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Property #1 Dev- 4 2 11 12 1 eloper #AbstractionforClarity
  22. 22. Goal Alignment Example #AbstractionforClarity
  23. 23. Concrete “information” “need, need!” “want” “information” “want” “information” “want” “information” “need, need!”“information” #AbstractionforClarity
  24. 24. Concrete “want” “information” “information” “information” #AbstractionforClarity
  25. 25. Concrete Abstracted “information” “need, need!” -Goal #1 Reasons: “want” IA -Goal #2 Reasons “information” Brain -Goal #3 Reasons “want” “information” “want” “information” “need, need!”“information” #AbstractionforClarity
  26. 26. -Goal #1 Reasons: -Goal #2 Reasons IA -Goal #3Brain Reasons #AbstractionforClarity
  27. 27. Abstraction Best Practices• If its going to distract from the conversation, don’t include it• Use a model that fits the information, not vice versa• Clearer: not necessarily less, could even be more • Allow your models to combine information from multiple sources #AbstractionforClarity
  28. 28. Try it out, keep the conversation goingKaarin Hoff Groupkaarin@understandinggroup.com #AbstractionforClarity@kaarinh Slideshare #AbstractionforClarity

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