Tag Archives: visualization methods

A chalkboard that says images and alt text

Use accessible images and alt. text in digital docs

A chalkboard that says images and alt text

At some point we’re all likely to need help reading our screens. We recently completed another concise video in our series for the Forest Service on how to work with images and alt text to improve accessibility. Even if you don’t know anyone with challenges at present, designing your content for accessibility makes material more usable in general.

The series is intended to make a dent in the mental blocks most authors have in understanding accessibility guidelines. We create fun two-minute topical overviews that help make the dry and daunting rule documents more easily understood.

An accessible coffee shop

The accessible hangout for all forest residents

The premise in the series is that we should “take care of the entire pack” by being considerate of others. There are different ways to access information online and we want to make sure that all recipients can ‘get the picture’.

Two wolves, one uses eyes and the other his ears

Different means are used to surf the internet.

To build interest in accessibility training, we hid an ‘easter egg’ in the prior video and encouraged employees to look for it. Correct answer submissions were registered for the honor of being drawn into this video’s cybercafe. Without a punishment or reward for compliance, we’ve been forced to explore alternative means of encouraging behavioral change.

The final video is posted on YouTube and joins text and type, the prior installment, as well as our introduction to accessibility guidelines.

Photo information graphic examples

I found this information graphic design website today and I’m adding it to our collection of resource suggestions. Some clients, like Accenture, prefer to use photo images in their information graphics. Although they probably don’t need to know about Bigfoot sightings in doing their global work.

You can use photos for information graphics

You can use photos for information graphics

Bigfoot sightings!

Bigfoot sightings!

AutoDesk’s organic animated organization chart

I saw this on Fast Company this morning and thought to post it here. If you’ve ever thought you were in the belly of a beast this might be the visual proof you need.

Changes to the company are mapped over four years with nodes representing the 7,000 employees getting reorganized regularly.

Create clear use(r) case stories with visuals

Technology and software change projects require careful consideration for how users will experience the solution. Often called use cases, these stories are first person accounts of how various audiences will interact with a solution to accomplish specific tasks.

These stories can be used to demonstrate new features, advantages to the consumer (and sponsoring company) and of course the process steps required. Alistair Cockburn, an innovator of the methodology, describes the Casual use case with the fields:

  • Title (goal)
  • Primary Actor
  • Scope
  • Level
  • (Story): the body of the use case is simply a paragraph or two of text, informally describing what happens.

Our starting point was a well-written narrative

Obviously use cases benefit from improved graphic consideration for all of the above participants. Following are several examples of how a use case can be developed more visually for the benefit of audiences that need to understand objectives and benefits of a process change quickly.

Use Case sketch

After some adjustments were made to the actions and benefits to be highlighted, the final version was produced in PPT for discussion around system changes required to enable new improved user experiences.

Use Case in PPT for programming consideration

Use cases are fantastic candidates for visual translations as they benefit from a storyboard approach that introduces the actors and stories in an easy to understand manner. Here are a few more notes on use cases from our friends at Wikipedia that support a VISUAL approach.

  • Use case templates do not automatically ensure clarity. Clarity depends on the skill of the writer(s).
  • Use cases are complex to write and to understand, for both end users and developers.
  • As there are no fully standard definitions of use cases, each project must form its own interpretation.
  • Some use case relationships, such as extends, are ambiguous in interpretation and can be difficult for stakeholders to understand.
  • In Agile, simpler user stories¬† are preferred to use cases.

    Give faces to use cases!