Visualising Digital Systems
27 January 2014
How do you visualise a digital system?
What media should we use for understanding the complex interplay of people, processes and technology that make up a modern organisation’s online communications?
This question came to me while watching this wonderful video on ‘media for thinking the unthinkable’ by Bret Victor.
He shows how particular human developments (for instance writing or mathematical notation) enabled great leaps in understanding because they allowed people to deeply consider and manipulate complex systems.
It struck me that there is a missing weapon in our arsenal: a language, a visualisation or - most likely - an interactive tool which would help us to describe, share, critique and play with our digital systems and so enable us to make better ones, faster.
I don’t know what the weapon would look like but I have developed some simple tools:
- Project management system: a simple, generalised template for initiating projects of any size, along with a logging system.
- Content promotion plan: a list of all the types of content with sign-off procedures and guidelines for social promotion.
- Channel matrix: a grid indicating which channel (website, social media account, email list, RSS feed…) is for which audience.
- Needs list: a list of needs for each audience
- Needs template: a template for describing a need and the products and processes which are designed to meet it
- Release checklists: a set of reminders for each stage of a product release: concept, specification, selection, launch, test
- Dashboards: a set of real-time charts and tables showing key metrics for each channel
How do we go from these simple tools to a more sophisticated media for thinking about digital?comments powered by Disqus