Playful information design

A different type of consultation.

Playful information design

Tuesday morning. On our way there. My colleague and I are on our way to a new customer. A process workshop is planned for today. I only left my first workshop of the day an hour ago, a workshop run by the latest addition to my family, who is now 3 years old. My job was to build something with building blocks. Whatever I built, it had to look good and be stable. Finally we achieved our goal together, and that leaves me with a positive feeling:

my son is satisfied, and so is his dad.

Tuesday morning and mid-day. The workshop for our customers involves plenty of innovative and creative people, and it yields a pool of good ideas. We analyse the current situation, ask each participant how they would ideally provide information in future, and work together to develop the first few steps. We develop a lot of steps. And this quantity leads one of the participants to ask the following question: “And what do we do with all these steps? What order should be put them in?”

And from the management corner I hear something about the future information concept: “It’s got to look good... and be stable.”

At this point, the feeling of déjà vu gives me the idea to deviate from my planned path: Let’s do it with building blocks!

Leap forward to one week later, another Tuesday. My colleague and I have in our luggage: building blocks. Why? Because we can use the building blocks to actually create the thing that management hinted at symbolically with their interjection: a good-looking, stable design for future documentation. Built from numerous building blocks by innovative and creative people, representing numerous steps that build on each other.

During the second workshop day we built a structure with a signal effect, created with creativity and innovation and symbolising a future-proof and ground-breaking informational design. And finally: building it was a lot of fun. Because, of course, every participant at this workshop enjoyed playing with building blocks.

Tuesday, late afternoon. On our way back. And while the familiar landscape passes by on the left and right of the motorway, I return to the thoughts I started with on the first day of the workshop, but phrased a little differently.

My customer is satisfied. And so am I.

Alexander Lange
Blog post Alexander Lange
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