Saturday, May 27, 2017

A word on visuals: An alternative to the bullseye diagram

A particular type of diagram that I often have problem with is the bullseye diagram.
Bullseye diagram

The problem is text placement. Some people, including me, opt to place the text outside the diagram and connect to it using lines or arrows. A bullseye diagram conveys the idea of a core and its subsequent layers. It is a hierarchy diagram with the center been the most important part, the core if you will.

A slide that I didn't show in the last post was a simplification of diagram I would called a Earth's Layers diagram:
Source: Wikimedia Commons

In essence, it is the bullseye diagram in 3D. I wanted to visualise the following layered hierarchy 1. Principles 2. Methodologies 3. Tools. At the core are the principles, followed by the methodologies, and tools as the final layer. My plan was to place the text on x-y plane.

I ended up not using the earth's layers diagram because I couldn't modified the above diagram to have only three layers. So  instead I came up with this:

Simplification of a earth's layers diagram
The  advantage with this kind of diagram is that the size and shape of the layers can be changed arbitrarily to meet the requirements of the text to be place inside the diagram itself. No lines, no text sacrifices  The depth effect is cause by the shadow effects, which are blurred gray copies of the white surfaces.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Visual Examples: Principles and Smells

Yeah, I'm back.  These are sample visuals for a coming presentation on some basics of software development target for a none technical audience.


The background is a linear gradient from #DFDFDF to #FFFFFF with no transparency, and except for the images, the only colors are orange (#EB9D3F) and blue (#3B85A7). The font is Open Sans, which I like more and more. As with as Roboto it is was commissioned by Google and is free.


The images are from Wikimedia Commons, some of them are either Feature Images of Quality Images. I had to desaturate them in order to gain control back of the overall aesthetics.

#1 Principles

Principles slide with layout number 1

#2 Smells

Smells refer to problems caused when one doesn't follow the principles.  I purposely changed the layout to reflect this.
Smells slide with layout number 2
As an exercise I did the smells slide with the principles layout number 1…
Smells slide redone with layout number 1
but it doesn't have the punch layout number 2 has. I'm actually lying. The difference in the layouts is due to the number of items in each slide: 5  in Principles and 4 in Smells. The change in the layout does show the juxtaposition between principles and smells. For sake of completeness, here is the version of the principles slide with layout number 2:
Principles slide with layout number 2

Not cool. I think the problem is the quality of the inkrementell and Modularitaet images. Although the word Verallgemeinerung is very long and doesn't fix in the available space, I think one could get away with it. Note how layout number 1 is more benevolent in this regard. The Abstraktion and Veraenderung thumbnails look great on the layout number 2. But I decided to stick to the first one. I get the contrast between Principles and Smells for free with two different layouts.

#3 SPA

Single Page Applications, or SPA for short, are websites that don't require a whole reload of a page. SPAs mimic the behavior of a traditional Desktop application. That why I contrast a Windows logo with a web browser.
You might be wondering why I rotate the title. After all it de-emphasises it and increments the cognitive load. Precisely because the title are just three words and only the last one has more than three syllables, it engages the viewer.

#4 Process

One difficulty in these slides was to find an icon for testing that wasn't icons of magnifying glasses or insects.  This test icon is inspired on the Test Corps for the Google Tech Talks and pushing the idea of Corps in the military. If you look at the Insignias of the U.S. Army, you'll find the resemble.

A 7 Step process won't fix in a slide, that's why I broke it down into two slides with a fancy transition. Watch the video below!

Part 1

Part 2

Here is the process with the push from right to left transition.