More From Hugh Dubberly

Since my last post about Dubberly’s innovation model I’ve been trawling through there website (there’s lots of great stuff on there). I came across this article ‘Models of Models’ from Interactions Magazine by Hugh Dubberly. I think this article will help me to frame why using information design to explain strategic design.

Models are ideas about the world – how it might be organized and how it might work. Models describe relationships: parts that make up wholes; structures that bind them; and how parts behave in relation to one another.

Observations and Models

The following quote describes exactly what I have encountered as a design student. I only became aware of models of the design process in my third year of study, because they do tend to remain implicit. However, when working with an explicit process model, the design process becomes much clearer. We waste less time fumbling our way through, gain deeper insights, and trust that the process will guide us to an appropriate solution.

Design is a young profession…Typically, models remain implicit. Students learn by watching teachers, managers, and colleagues. Universities, professional organizations, and design practitioners have much opportunity to improve the way designers learn – to develop systems for forming and reforming models of design process.

Models and Stories

Dubberly has also provided criteria for judging models that I may use to judge iterations of my own visualisations.

Fit
Is the representation congruent with the model?
Do representation and model have similar structures?
Are all the elements in the model explicit in the representation?

Least Means
Could the model be represented in a simpler way?
What can be removed without changing the meaning? (Remove decoration.)
Could conventional symbols or other standard patterns make reading easier?

Consistency
Are the means of representation consistent?
(Similar forms should represent similar functions or similar content.
Likewise, similar functions or similar content should be represented by similar forms.)
Are all elements and their connections labeled?

Contrast
What about the model should appear to be most important?
Does the most important thing appear most important?
(Not everything is equally important. Important elements of the model should stand out in the representation. One way to achieve contrast is through scale, making more important items larger than less important items.)

Hierarchy
How do the elements of the system appear to fit together?
Is the structure of the system clearly visible?
Do we know where to look first?
Can we find a clear path through the model?

The final test of the model (and representation) is with the audience.
How does the audience understand it?
Do they agree with it?
Do they agree that they agree?
Will they act on it?


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