Start Smarter with a Concept Diagram

Concept diagrams are one of the best bang-for-buck deliverables available to today’s UX designer. In its most basic form, a concept diagram uses nouns connected by verbs to describe a system, idea, or application. It can be a sophisticated deliverable or a quick-and-dirty sketch. The technique is not unlike diagramming sentences in elementary school — though it tends to be quite a bit more fun.

This is a fast-paced primer on building better concept diagrams and using them to understand relationships between ideas in new ways. In particular, we’ll examine how to use concept diagrams to represent domain expertise and create a mechanism for transferring knowledge between stakeholders, subject matter experts, and designers.

Learn the simple rules for creating concept diagrams, when you will and won’t want to create one, and what to do with it once you have it. Understand how concept diagrams differ from similar techniques such as affinity diagramming and mindmapping, and when best to apply each in your process.

Variations on this talk have been presented at the 2014 Information Architecture Summit in San Diego, MinneWebCon 2014 at the University of Minnesota, Web 2013 at Penn State, and the 2014 University of Illinois Web Conference.