Weird, Naked White Collar Guys

One of the things I’m all about these days, as an interaction designer, is simplicity. I think a lot of what is driving all the excitement is grounded in the notion that if you work at masking the complexity behind things – whether through a simple API or through a simple user interface – you will win.
A few months ago, I stumbled on this process diagram for a financial company. Now, I’m all about communicating through thoughtfully created artifacts that communicate. This diagram, however, does not do that (click on it to view it in all it’s glory):

This is an actual representation of…some sort of process. It amazes how much our brains get in the way of our brains when we’re trying to convey something to others. This diagram not only solves nothing, but actually creates more problems on top. Though I have to admit, I love the weird, naked white collar guys toiling away at their workstations.
So let’s leave information design up to the experts folks. We, the information architects of the world, possess the requisite empathy and forethought to create simple, intuitive artifacts. We would never be caught dead putting out noisy, cluttered diagrams like the above. Or would we?

1 Comment Weird, Naked White Collar Guys

  1. Nick S.

    This is Nick. I’ve been here, some time ago, a long time ago. I’ve looked.
    This one caught my eye. Rich knows a thing or two about information architecture, and about computers. He was always playing with them, from the first time I met him.
    Anyway, back to this diagram. It’s amazing. It’s so amazing…I don’t care if you email me privately, Rich, I want to know if it’s real. Seriously.
    As someone slaving away in a cube, a semi-naked white collar guy who refuses to commit himself to one sector of the soul-sucking world of office light and wonderfully evil boxes with chips and wires, I’ve had to look at these diagrams, and even attempt to edit and ‘flesh’ (naked, white flesh) them out.
    This one looks familiar. It’s financial services, clearly. You have a GL. You have ‘Purchase and Sales’. You have lines that no normal person (hence the source of the diagram) would be able to follow. No, there’s no way this thing was ever presented to (competent) management. Therefore, it just might be real.
    As usual, I answer my own question. Which is why I rarely post. However, the slowly deteriorating sanity of a self-described ‘okay guy if you get to know him’ dictates that he share his thoughts, fiction, reviews, and general BS with more people online. The internet is suffering from a serious problem, the same problem infecting Earth: too many users, too many people. All we can do is throw our tattered amnesia hats into the ring.
    Back to the diagram. I drew that diagram, I confess. We all drew that diagram.
    Have a good one.


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