Visualizations: Diagrams, Maps, and Flows

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A visualization reveals the core of a subject – be it a complete system or a single experience. It reduces complexity to the simplest form that is still meaningful.

Describing systems and experiences

When we document UX, we describe systems and experiences. We visualize the connections among people, places, and things. Understanding these visualizations becomes a matter of fidelity.

Fidelity is the degree of sameness between two things. A high-fidelity document mirrors a future experience, whereas a low-fidelity one merely references it. To understand an experience, we need only reach a level of fidelity that communicates what is necessary at any given moment.

sketch showing complex to simple process

Example visualizations

Here are several examples of purely visual examples* with varied fidelity. The documents show how people relate to systems, how ecosystems drive engagement, and how companies exchange data.

* Please refer to other case studies on this website for a more thorough analysis of past work.

How signals inform the selection of content in a client's app

Diagram of how signals inform the selection of displayed content in a client's app. (iPad mock-up credit Shift Global.)

Diagram of the societal influences affecting applicants for US Army

Diagram of the societal influences affecting applicants for the US Army

Supreme Court appointment process

Supreme Court appointment process (simplified)

Technical illustration of telecommunication infrastructure for commercial building operator

Technical illustration of a building's telecommunication infrastructure for a commercial building operator

Digital ecosystem diagram for a national consumer packaged goods company

Digital ecosystem diagram for a national consumer packaged goods company

Diagram of subdomain strategy for an international genetics company

Diagram of subdomain strategy for an international genetics company

Electronic data interchange (EDI) feed diagram for an employee benefits firm

Electronic data interchange (EDI) feed diagram for an employee benefits firm

Process flow for social game and lead generation tool for a multinational solar manufacturer

Process flow for social game and lead generation tool for a multinational solar manufacturer

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