March 9, 2009, 8:49 am

Successful Teams Don’t Communicate Only With Words

By Kirsten Robinson

An interesting excerpt from Jared Spool’s blog, on successful design teams and diagrams:

For almost ten years, the research team at UIE has been searching to uncover the secrets behind great designs. As we talk to team after team, a key truth continues to emerge: The best teams communicate internally really well, while those teams that struggle also struggle at their internal communication.

When we think of a team that communicates, the first things that comes to mind are hallway conversations, meetings, and emails. But, as our research continues to show, are only a part of the communication puzzle.

It turns out that one of the differences between the successful teams and the struggling teams is their use of diagrams and maps. Struggling teams almost always try to communicate important design ideas through talking or word-based documents, while the successful teams put a heavy emphasis on diagrams.

It’s nice to see this validation for what we at Dynamic Diagrams have always advocated.

Jared’s comments are a lead-in to an article on concept models, which in turn referenced Bryce Glass’s concept model for Flickr — a nice visualization for a complex social media ecosystem. Apparently this visualization has been around since 2005, but this was the first time I’d seen it.

Flickr concept model by Brian Glass

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Filed under: Design, Diagrams, Visual Explanation


Quick correction: “Brian” Glass should be “Bryce” Glass, UI superstar. He can be found at

Posted by That Kid from Omaha on March 9, 2009 at 8:54 pm  

Thanks for the correction, Kid. My brain was saying “Bryce” but my fingers typed “Brian” (twice!). I’ve corrected the post now. Bryce, if you’re reading this, my apologies for messing up your name. You have my permission to call me Kristen.

Posted by Kirsten Robinson on March 10, 2009 at 8:16 am  

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