“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.” - Steve Jobs

Lets face it, we are visual communicators …

Today I was pointed to a blog post by an IxD (@jseiden) questioning the need for visual design skills. Below is more answer.

Seriously, give it up, you need to work on your drawing skills, or at least your envisioning skills.

You want to work on behavioral systems then you have to design not just “the wireframe” but the system. Yes you can collaborate with visual designers, but the end product is in that collaboration and you can’t think that your deliverable is “the wireframe”. It isn’t. Your deliverable always has to be the final product. This also means that the intimate collaboration (or personal abilities) also need to include production execution of the behavioral code that makes those graphics interactive, responsive, and engaging.

But even before that, visual skills communicate better even at the level of the abstract. Your models of your research, your task models, flow diagrams, sitemaps, content strategy diagrams, etc. etc. will always be more valuable if they are well communicated.

Then to communicate behavior you still need the visual. Prototypes and narratives told in visuals are always more compelling/convincing than straight up wireframes AND they are clearer an more precise allowing for the collaborate mentioned above to take place best.

I need to close w/ “bullshit” on the last comment. The DesignBoom issue is not b/c people are focused so closely on the visual, its because the visual is the only true measure that human beings can respond to. As an IxD you are part psychologist. You have to go back to the basics of cognition and perception and realize that to be noticed/perceived and then processed you have to reach a critical mass of gestalt so that the person in question “notices” what it is you want noticed. This is not a conspiracy against IxD, but rather reality of communication.

I’ll just close with this thought that I learned from my ID education as small as it was:

A great idea that is not well communicated is not really a great idea at all.

Can we communicate as well without visuals or even good visuals? That is the question and for me the answer is always no.

Be Sociable, Share!
  • http://www.joshuaseiden.com/blog Josh Seiden

    > Can we communicate as well without visuals or even good visuals? That is the question and for me the answer is always no.

    I notice Dave that there isn’t a single “visual” in this blog post, I guess that implies that there are times when other means of communication are effective. :-)

    OK, seriously now Dave, I think you mis-characterize my post. I wasn’t questioning the need for visual design skills. I was pointing out that what we see in a visual artifact varies widely based on our level of sophistication at “reading” that artifact. Building on that observation, I went on to say that for those of us who work in dimensions that are not explicitly visual, there is an extra level of challenge communicating with non-specialists.



The archives run deep. Feel free to search older content using topic keywords.