Tagged: Information Design

Principles of Information Design

By Geoff Hart | Fellow This column focuses on the principles of information design, the art and science of understanding how humans process and comprehend information, and using that knowledge to develop more effective ways to communicate. Please send comments to ghart@videotron.ca. Sadly, the time has come to say farewell, and this will be the final installment of my column on information design. In this article, I’ll try to summarize the principles that underlie what I’ve written about during the past five years, spanning more than 20 articles in Intercom since 2006. Understand Your Audience One of the technical communicator’s… Read the rest

Developing the Required Talent, Part 2: Training Your Audience

By Geoff Hart | Fellow This column focuses on the principles of information design, the art and science of understanding how humans process and comprehend information, and using that knowledge to develop more effective ways to communicate. Please send comments and suggestions to ghart@videotron.ca. In my previous column in January, I described recent research on how to master any set of skills, such as the communication skills an information designer needs. In this column, I’ll reframe that discussion to reveal how you can help your audience achieve comparable mastery in whatever skills you’re teaching them to use. Let’s start with… Read the rest

Developing the Required Talent, Part 1: Personal Training

By Geoff Hart | Fellow This column focuses on the principles of information design, the art and science of understanding how humans process and comprehend information, and using that knowledge to develop more effective ways to communicate. Please send comments and suggestions to ghart@videotron.ca. Over the past five years, I've somehow managed to neglect two important topics in my information design columns: how to develop the talent required to apply the theoretical information I've provided in your daily work, and how a similar approach can help your audience acquire expertise in areas that they consider important. In the workshops I… Read the rest

Subjecting Theory to a Reality Check

By Geoffrey G. S. Hart | Fellow Research-backed theory provides design guidance that can keep us from traveling too far down blind alleys. It also points us toward proven solutions so we don't have to constantly reinvent the wheel. This is why I've introduced judicious doses of theory since I began this column: to demonstrate that it's relevant and not as scary as you might think. Unfortunately, there are compelling reasons why we should examine theoretical knowledge skeptically. Here, skepticism does not mean we should distrust everything we read; instead, it means we should judge research critically, demanding evidence but… Read the rest

Why Simple Is Better

By GEOFFREY J. S. HART | Fellow This column focuses on the principles of information design, the art and science of understanding how humans process and comprehend information, and using that knowledge to develop more effective ways to communicate. Please send comments and suggestions to ghart@videotron.ca. The concept of “working memory,” also called “short-term memory,” is important because it’s a limited resource. The human brain can only handle so much information simultaneously; when there’s no more room, something must be dropped to make room for something else. The information design goal of simplicity reminds us to seek ways to avoid… Read the rest