The Art (and Science) of Diagramming: How to Communicate Effectively Using Diagrams

Diagrams play a critical role in data management practice: they are used to document information models and architectures and to communicate these throughout the enterprise. Despite this, data management professionals typically receive no training in how to produce �good� diagrams. As a result, they are forced to rely on their intuition and experience (which is often wrong), and make layout decisions that distorts information or conveys unintended messages. The inevitable consequence of this is that most diagrams used in data management practice today do not communicate effectively. Although they are intended as a way of communicating with business users and senior management, they more often act as a barrier than an aid to communication.

What you will learn from this course

This course describes a set of principles for producing �good� diagrams (defined as diagrams that communicate effectively). These principles are based on scientific evidence drawn from a wide range of fields, including visual perception, cognitive psychology, graphic design, cartography, typography and diagrammatic reasoning. The principles apply to all types of diagrams, from formal diagrams used in application development and architectures (e.g. data models, process models) to more informal diagrams used in presentations and reports. Topics covered include

  • What is meant by a �good� diagram
  • The most common errors in IT diagramming practice and how to avoid them
  • The grammar and vocabulary of graphics: the full range of techniques available for graphically encoding information
  • Principles of graphic design and typography (most diagrams consist of graphics and text so an understanding of both is required)
  • Principles of visual perception and cognition: how the human mind processes graphical information
  • Principles for effective diagrams: practical guidelines for developing diagrams that communicate
  • How to use the same principles to produce more effective presentations and reports What makes a good diagram?

The course brochure is available at Seminar.pdf

The seminar will be held on Wednesday March 7 at the well-known Toronto landmark and city retreat, The Old Mill, 21 Old Mill Rd, Toronto (just by the Old Mill subway station).

The cost for the course is only $400 for IRMAC members and $500 for non-members. The seminar fee includes continental breakfast on arrival (8:30 – 9:15 a.m.), buffet lunch, and a complementary beverage with the course leader following the seminar.

Registration is now open and registrations can be made online at Space is limited.

Course Leader

Daniel Moody is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Information Systems at the University of Twente in Holland. He has a PhD in Information Systems from the University of Melbourne and has held academic positions at universities in Iceland, Norway, Spain, Czech Republic, Slovenia and Australia. He has held senior IT positions in some of Australia�s largest and most successful organisations and has conducted consulting assignments in 12 different countries. He is the current President of the Australian Data Management Association (DAMA), Australian Representative for the Information Resource Management Association (IRMA) and is listed in Who’s Who in Science and Engineering. He has published over 100 scientific papers and has chaired several international conferences.


Mar 07 2007

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