It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost a year since the first VizThink conference. VizThink ’08 renewed my interest in visual communication, but I came home from it a bit overwhelmed by all the types and disciplines within visual thinking. I spent the first several months after the conference trying to identify and categorize everything that fell within the visual thinking domain. Hence the obsession in this blog with categorizing and coming up with a taxonomy of visual thinking. While I never came up with a nice, neat visual that captured the whole field of visual thinking, I at least got comfortable with most of the terms, artifacts and disciplines such that I no longer feel overwhelmed by the scope of it all.
Since there’s so many interesting areas in visual thinking that will be represented at VizThink 09, it seems to me that the best approach going into this year’s conference is to select a few key themes, disciplines or interests and focus on those. This idea was reinforced by the recent podcast with Tony Karrer on the VizThink blog. His key point, to get the most out of the VizThink 09 conference, you need to do some prep work, figure out what you want to get out of the conference, brainstorm 5 – 10 key questions you want to get answers for that you can use to select sessions and while networking.
So, taking that advice to heart, I took a little time to brainstorm what areas of visual thinking I’m currently most interested in and created a mind map of that. The result is below. I hope to flesh this out a bit more as the conference draws nearer, but if you’re attending VizThink ’09 and you share any of the interests on this mind map, let’s hook up and chat.