An article for deckaholic was picked up by UX Magazine and published. Thanks to everyone joining the deckaholic community from our friends at UXMag. Keep the deck suggestions coming - we'll have a major update to the library before the end of 2014!
Deckaholic is now on Medium! @medium.com/the-deckaholic Follow our collection there and feel free to contribute articles.
Plus - I started a group on LinkedIn for commenting and sharing all things decks. Feel free to join - deckaholics unite!
What do the Table of Elements, the first IBM computer, and the novel Lolita have in common? Before they were icons of human achievement, they were card decks.
What gives card decks this unique power to create new meaning in the world? The basis of visual thinking is the analysis (i.e. disaggregation) of a complex idea into “nodes”, followed by the synthesis (i.e. reintegration) of those “nodes” through “links” into a new meaningful whole. At the most basic level, cards are “nodes” in search of “links”. Card decks as a problem-solving tool are powerful because we often know the parts of a problem or solution, but we don’t yet know how they fit together in an insightful way.
Visual Thinking Tip: When looking for a pattern or structure to bring meaning to complex information, break information into movable nodes and seek multiple possible configurations until the relationships within the system comes into focus.
Visual Thinking Tip: “Code” your individual cards in as many ways as possible, using symbols and colors to categorize information. Structure may later emerge from this metadata.
Visual Thinking Tip: Save your thoughts in fragments – a memorable quote, a midnight brainstorm, a crucial statistic, a sketch – to maintain a pool of content that can be assembled or reassembled for multiple possible uses. Communicating your ideas to audiences that vary in their perspectives and needs is much easier when you can rapidly pull the most relevant content or storytelling approach for each audience.
Now that we have this website set up, we're collecting all types of decks in the library. This video, the last in the series for Unfinished Business School discusses examples of all types of card decks.
When should a set of information take the form of a deck, versus something else? Decks have capabilities no other form has. Let’s compare decks with two other dominant forms: books and post-it notes.
Faceoff: Decks vs. Books
- Books are for narrative storytelling when sequence matters vs. Decks are for capturing a complete set of possibilities and for situations where sequence does not matter or multiple sequences are valuable.
- Books are organized for findability vs. Decks are organized for discovery.
- Most “complete thoughts” are still contained in books and articles, but the world is changing quickly - we are unbinding knowledge. The internet has transformed us into multi-linked nodal consumers. We move from page to page, linked in myriad ways. Many books on the shelves of book shops and libraries probably could be more valuable if they were decks.
Faceoff: Decks vs. Post-its
- Post-its start with a blank card vs. Decks start with a universe of options.
- Post-its are generative vs. Decks are selective.
- Post-its are an open set vs. Decks are a closed set.
- In practice, Post-its draw upon the knowledge in a room vs. Decks bring expert knowledge a the room, while still leaving control over how that knowledge applies to the people in the room.
When designing decks, it's helpful to consider how we interact with them so we can take advantage of all their amazing characteristics. There are seven motions when interacting with decks: four "randomizers" and four "sensemakers".
The Randomizers: Shuffle, Deal, Draw, and Flip
The Sensemakers: Sort/Group/Stack, Sequence/Rank, and Compare/Combine
(4th in the series)
There are so many ways to use card decks, but they generally seem to fall into five categories. We use card decks to ideate, diagnose, learn, play and present. Part 3 in the series.
What makes a deck a deck? This video, the second in the series, discusses five properties of card decks:
4) Multiple Valuable Configurations
What do the Table of Elements, the first IBM computer, and the novel Lolita have in common? Before they were icons of human achievement, they were card decks.Read More