Definition: Any illustration or picture that helps an audience understand something.
Also referenced as: Diagrams (noun) Diagrammatic (adjective)
Related to: Block Diagram, Chart, Edge, Exploded Schematic, Flexible, Flow Diagram, Frame, Gantt chart, Information Architect, Information Architecture, Map, Matrix Diagram, Mental Model, Mind Map, Quadrant Diagram, Scale, Schematic, Scope, Sitemap, Swim Lane Diagram, Time, Timescale, Venn Diagram, Worksheet
The word diagram was used 37 times across 15 pages
Fear is an obvious but elusive partner in these moments. Fear can walk ahead of us and get all the glory, leaving us pondering and restless for more, more, more. Maybe we fear failure. Maybe we fear success. Maybe we fear light being shined our way.
Facing reality is the next step on our journey. In this chapter, we'll discuss rabbit holes of reality you are likely to have to explore as well as some diagrammatic techniques you can take with you to document what you find down there.
Before we go on, I have to warn you of the many opportunities ahead to lose faith in yourself as you climb through and understand the details of your reality. It can start to feel like the mess wants you to fail in making sense of it. Don't worry. That thought has occurred to everyone who has ever tried to change something. We all have to deal with reality. We all want what we want and then get what we get.
When faced with a problem, you reference your mental model and try to organize the aspects and complexities of what you see into recognizable patterns. Your ongoing experience changes your mental model. This book is changing it right now.
As an example, it's much easier to teach someone about the inner-workings of a car engine with a picture, animation, diagram, or working model.
These relationships can be one-way (e.g., dropping a package into a mailbox) or two-way (e.g., calling the postal service to see if it was delivered).
Start by creating a box for each concept, each piece of content, and each process. Arrange the boxes based on how they relate to each other. Play. See what reveals itself as you move things around. Try a few different arrangements before you add the arrows.
Keep it simple. The more you add styling and polish, the less you'll feel comfortable changing and collaborating on the diagram.
If people judge books by their covers, they judge diagrams by their tidiness.
People use aesthetic cues to determine how legitimate, trustworthy, and useful information is. Your job is to produce a tidy representation of what you're trying to convey without designing it too much or polishing it too early in the process.
As you make your diagram, keep your stakeholders in mind. Will they understand it? Will anything distract them? Crooked lines, misspellings, and styling mistakes lead people astray. Be careful not to add another layer of confusion to the mess.
Make it easy to make changes so you can take in feedback quickly and keep the conversation going, rather than defending or explaining the diagram.
As you review each one, imagine the parts of your mess that could benefit from reframing.
A quadrant diagram illustrates how things compare to one another. You can create one based on exact data (e.g., price of a slice, thickness of pizza-crust) or ambiguous data (e.g., fancy or casual, quality of service, or tastiness).
These concepts don't necessarily live under an established hierarchy or sequence. For example, in the diagram above, I've outlined the various aspects of running a pizza parlor as the owner (me!) might think about them.
The power of a matrix diagram is that you can make the boxes collect whatever you want. Each box becomes a task to fulfill or a question to answer, whether you're alone or in a group.
After making a simple matrix of users, contexts, players, and channels, you'll have a guide to understanding the mess. By admitting your hopes and fears, you're uncovering the limits you're working within.
For example, let's say we're working on bringing a product to the market. To support this process, we might create:
These are all important pieces individually, but we need to look at them together to answer questions about the whole such as:
When you see the world through the eyes of other people, you can spot weaknesses and opportunities for improvement. Don't hide from other stakeholders or wait until the end of the project to talk to users.