The ingenious (and totally fictitious) “Turbo Encabulator” video has long been used to warn against the use of technobabble. It has a fascinating history, which includes this Oscar-worthy 1977 performance by Bud Haggart:
What’s the lesson?
Avoid confusing jargon in your presentations.
Be conscious of your audience and sensitive to their familiarity with the terms that you use. We should use jargon, acronyms and other technical terms only if we are sure that our audience will understand them. If there is the slightest chance that they won’t understand, then simplify your language. Remember, if they can’t understand your message, they can’t adopt it.
I know what you’re thinking…
“But, Susan, big words make me sound more interesting and credible!”
Actually, the opposite is often true. The more clearly and simply you can deliver your message, the more likely people are to follow your ideas (intentional double entendre).
I would write more, but I’ve gotta go for now, as my flux capacitor needs recharging.
Where have you seen (or even used) technobabble?
Thanks to my colleague, Dave Ilconich, for reminding me of this classic video.
Objects in a composition need to breathe. White space offers an airy canvas stage on which the parts of your design can freely dance. Just ask Mark Boulton, graphic designer and writer from the UK. Here’s my favorite part about Mark’s view on white space:
“Whitespace is often used to create a balanced, harmonious layout. One that just “feels” right. It can also take the reader on a journey through the design in the same way a photographer leaves “looking room” in a portrait shot by positioning the subject off the center of the frame and having them looking into the remaining space.”
Check out this slide show by Brand Autopsy to see some compelling use of white space.
Now, how can you use white space in your next design, web page, slide deck or thank you note to make a bold statement?
Looking forward to [the spaces between] your ideas,
The term Infographic is a portmanteau of two terms, “Information” and “Graphics,” and describes the visual representation of data. Infographics help communicate complex information in a digestible manner, as they creatively present data in an understandable and engaging format.
As web users, with our diminishing attention spans, we’re inexorably drawn to these shiny, brightly colored messages with small, relevant, clearly-displayed nuggets of information. They’re straight to the point, usually factually interesting and often give you a wake-up call as to what those statistics really mean. Here are some examples to fire up your i-graph engines…
Example: An Infographic that’s all about YOU
Intel’s “What About Me?”
Intel’s What About Me? is an automatic infographic generator that connects to your own Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts to create a profile infographic about you.
Social media users know that discovery is half the fun. With What about Me? you can capture a snapshot of your social media life and create your own colorful image, full of clues and facts about one of the most fascinating subjects in the world — YOU!
The chipmaker’s new “What About Me?” app culls info from your Facebook, Twitter and YouTube profiles to crank out a data visualization of your composite social media profile.
For instance, there’s a graphic that looks like a flower that tracks your interests based on what you tweet and write status updates about. There’s also a record of your most popular post ever and your most popular pic, your ratio of self-created updates vs. found information and “likes.”
Hohli is an intuitive, simple online chart maker. It’s incredibly easy to pick your chart type, add some data, vary the sizes and colors and see the finished chart.
Creately lets you design easy-to-make diagrams and flow charts. You can choose from a number of purpose-designed diagram types and quickly add your data to make your own chart. The end result looks very professional.
New York Times
New York Times’ Visualization Lab lets you use statistics from recent NYTimes articles to create visualizations in various formats. You can also see other people’s visualizations and see how other people choose to display the same data.
Many Eyes lets you upload your own data or use data already stored on the site. The visualizations themselves are well-designed and very professional-looking. This is definitely the easiest way to use your own data for online visualizations.
Google Public Data
Google Public Data lets you easily take public data and transform it into an infographic of your choice. These beautiful, colorful graphics simplify and communicate the data perfectly.
You may have seen my earlier post on Wordle, which lets you create word visualizations using text you enter. There are plenty of interesting designs to choose from. Enter whole books, short passages or see what other people have used. In this example, we can see the US constitution visualised.
Free Software For Creating Infographics
Tableau is a free Windows-only software for creating visualizations. As you can see, these impressive graphs are colorful and quite unique.
French for empty pockets, the vide poche is simply a small bowl or container kept in a convenient location to empty your pockets into when you walk through the door. Having somewhere to put your keys, loose change and wallet when you take off your coat helps minimize clutter and reduces the chance that you will be scrambling around looking for your keys next time you are late running out the door.
Here are four easy ways you can use a vide poche for increased effectiveness:
Add vide poche to your leadership approach: Leave room for silence in your coaching sessions. Empty spaces in the conversation allow powerful introspection to take place. Resist the urge to fill in spaces with witty advice or riveting questions.
Add vide poche to your instructional design approach: Create activities that encourage learners to reflect, not just produce the correct answer.
Add vide poche to your graphic design approach: Remember the power of white space. It gives content room to breathe and have more impact. Enough said!
Add vide poche to your home routine: Place an empty shoebox-sized container near your garbage can. When you bring in the stack of mail from your mailbox, place junk mail directly in the garbage and place bills or other actionable pieces into the shoebox for later addressing.
How can you use a vide poche to make space for increased success and life satisfaction?