« »
November 23, 2007 » 11:49 pm

Productivity, Working Big, and Spatial Awareness

My colleague, Jeff Shults, has a saying: “Work big.” Jeff is a space guru, as many of you who have participated in a Blue Oxen Associates workshop know, as most of my events have been at his different spaces. The most glaring feature of his space are the huge, movable work walls.    (MQE)

Working big is important even when we’re working small — at our desks in front of our computers, for example. I’ve cited speculation and a study on the productivity gains from using larger screens. I recently ran across Clive Thompson‘s New York Times magazine article that cited a similar study by Mary Czerwinski at Microsoft.    (MQF)

On the bigger screen, people completed the tasks at least 10 percent more quickly – and some as much as 44 percent more quickly. They were also more likely to remember the seven-digit number, which showed that the multitasking was clearly less taxing on their brains. Some of the volunteers were so enthralled with the huge screen that they begged to take it home. In two decades of research, Czerwinski had never seen a single tweak to a computer system so significantly improve a user’s productivity.    (MQG)

Thompson makes a key point in his article: Productivity in an interrupt-driven world seems to be closely related to our ability to switch and remember different contexts. Bigger screens allow you to take advantage of spatial awareness to switch and remember different contexts.    (MQH)

There’s a corollary to this regarding complex problems. I’m convinced that the primary value of graphical facilitation is not the Visual Language used to capture ideas, but the relationship created between ideas and space. In other words, you’ll remember the discussion around an idea better if you remember that it was the conversation that was captured on the lower right hand side of the screen or wall. This belief has greatly eased my stress when Dialogue Mapping, as ultimately, I see my task as building spatial memory.    (MQI)

That’s not to say that Visual Language isn’t important. It is, and fortunately, there’s a fantastic community of folks who are exploring it. The better news is that many of these folks will be converging in San Francisco on January 27-29, 2008 for the VizThink conference.    (MQJ)

Tags: , , , , , ,

« »

Leave a Reply