Pictures Worth More than Words for IT/Business Communication

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Our own Ken-Hardin recently blogged about using software-driven visual aids like Visio to illustrate business processes. He employs an ancient copy of Macromedia FreeHand to create "low-rent descriptions of business processes and user flows," but is considering investing in a more sophisticated tool like Visio for this purpose.


What interested us most was Ken's description of IT managers as more visually-oriented than business folks. They like to look. In a truly Venus/Mars fashion, the geeks get off by looking at detailed visuals of network topographies and the like, while business owners go at it less directly by fantasizing in their heads.


With Ken's blog fresh in our memory, we encountered a Baseline article that makes some of the same points. Though it's ostensibly about a team of Target.com employees using an application simulation tool to preview new Web site features, in a broader sense it's about facilitating communication between IT and the business.


A senior information architect says the visual simulations created with the tool help his team give software developers a detailed -- and highly visual -- idea of what they want. The information architects also can use prototypes created with the tool to preview the ideas for line-of-business folks. As the article describes it, they can ". . . take that prototype into a conference room, use a projector to share a walk-through of the application with retail managers and other project participants, and make changes based on their feedback. "