Thursday, March 22, 2012


"Part of where I'm going, is knowing where I'm coming from" -Gavin Degraw

Information designers utilize mapping techniques to show where objects are located in relation to one another. Mapping is an incredibly versatile tool that “makes all kinds of ideas about the spatial relationships of objects unexpectedly clear” (Roam, 2009, p. 166). Information maps are used to create a visual connection between interrelated concepts, structures, or processes in a clear and incisive manner. According to Horn (1994), information mapping makes it easier to write technical materials, provide more specific content and analysis, and leads to more effective and efficient learning.

Applications of mapping in information design:
  • Wayfinding
  • Infographics
  • Wireframes 
  • Blueprints
  • Information architecture, such as sitemaps
  • Project documentation: team organizational chart, work plan diagram, etc. (Baer, 2009, p. 34)
  • Diagrams
  • Webbing
  • Matrix
  • Charts
  • Timeline
  • Structure mapping
  • Process mapping
  • Concept mapping

Concept mapping has become increasingly useful as a research tool and an instructional technique to facilitate meaningful learning” (Novak, J. & Gowin, B. & Johansen, G., 2006).  For this blog post, I created concept maps to demonstrate each step in Roam’s visual thinking process: look, see, imagine, show.  Then I created a process map that demonstrates visual thinking as it really happens (Roam, 2009, p. 41). 

Once I sketched out my process map, I used Microsoft Office object palette to create concept maps for the four steps in the visual design process:


Baer, K. (2008). Information Design Workboook. Massachusetts: MIT Press.

Horn, R. (1994, March). Information Mapping. Training in Business and Industry. Retrieved from

Jacobson, R. (1999). Information Design. Massachusetts: MIT Press.

Novak, J. & Gowin, B. & Johansen, G. (2006). The use of concept mapping and knowledge vee mapping. Cornell University. Retrieved from

Roam, D. (2009). The back of the napkin: Solving problems and selling ideas with pictures. New York: Penguin Group.

1 comment:

  1. Helen,

    I really like the overall layout of your page. The background is very interesting and looks like mapping or architectural drawings. The colors and fonts are also very easy to read. It also looks like you put a lot of time into creating your charts. I really like how you built the process through many different charts and came to a final chart that summarizes the entire process.

    The only thing that I may consider changing is making the font size for the references a little bigger. I know that they really aren't the main focus but the size made it feel more like it could be a disclaimer statement for a product.

    Otherwise, everything looks great!

    -Jessica Gitchel