Visually Inspire Communication

Create adaptive learning environments with your coworkers  – illustrate data with infographics and share a story with an interactive presentation.

Scenario #1: Create infographics using Piktochart
My objective is to make static documentation interactive. An infographic enriched with color, easy-to-follow data and hyperlinks to wiki content and videos or GIFs was the best choice.

Identify audience and the best way to present ideas to the user. How should users interact with the information? Determine what content to use; often times statistical data can be represented as charts or simple graphics. Keep in mind less is more, so chunk content with different colors or blocks to separate text like shown here:

You want a natural flow of progression when reading the document. Try to make eye-popping designs with little distractions to esthetics. Incorporate themes, embed graphics, videos and map plugins to engage users. In the end, you will have an infographic that is dynamic, appealing and promotes communication throughout the organization.

Piktochart is a free application available for download on my native PC. This program enabled me to choose preloaded templates or start a project from scratch. I enjoyed the user-friendly interface.

Use Also:,, Snag-It

Scenario #2: Create interactive presentations using Intuilab
Think Powerpoint2.0. Business presentations are no longer boring slides with lame animation or remote clickers with lazer pointers. Instead, presentations are interactive and reinventing communication.

Convey a message by guiding your users through a digital experience that tells a story. Interact with the slides; maximize the screen, highlight, swipe and draw over images.
Deliver and collaborate amongst coworkers in the cloud. Build presentations and distribute across multiple platforms and devices.

Intuilab appealed to me because of its touch screen capabilities. I also was able to learn this software quickly providing “if, then” statements that replaced code. Pros: All access sandbox. Cons: Compatible only with Windows 7 & 8; HTML release by the end of 2013.

Use Also:, prezi,

Copyblogger’s 10 Rules for Writing First Drafts

10 Rules for Writing First Drafts

Like this infographic?

Correction: Celebrate with champagne, a bottle of Smuttynose or pitcher of sangria.

Copyblogger focuses on one good point, mimic the style of the greats. Steal with great pleasure. Don’t plagiarize, but sincerely admire and praise to no end. With this blog, I’ve tried to find authors with a particular writing style that appeals to me — stream of consciousness — from Hunter S.Thompson and James Joyce to JosĂ© Saramago’s punctuation-less prose.

My credo: Write ’till your heart’s content. Look to other writers for inspiration and who respect the craft. Respect yourself and your talents. Don’t fear the red pen because constructive criticism is what will make you a stronger writer. Take a step back once in awhile – a fresh perspective can present pivotal changes in your story. Save all old drafts, even if to lock them away in a box at the bottom of your closet; they will be useful one day. Immerse yourself in language: diction, syntax, tone and voice. And share, even if you’re afraid.

Applying IBM’s Watson to Big Data Analytics in Education

‘A smarter planet is built on smarter analytics’

Anyone who has watched Jeopardy! for the last twenty odd years knows Watson as the computer genius who won against Ken Jennings on the show. Despite super intelligence, Watson’s cognitive software did not answer every question correctly. In fact during the second round contestants (human and AI) were stumped with this little known fact…Category? US Cities please. Its largest airport was named for a World War II hero; its second largest, for a World War II battle.

Watson, the artificial intelligence computer designed by IBM was programmed to get most rapidly-fired questions correct, with the exception of a few trick contextual answers. Ironically, one of the system’s biggest flaws was deciphering pesty language idiosyncrasies. For example, English anomalies; idioms, conundrums, euphemisms, semantic woes and punctuation malfunctions. To resolve the slight hiccup, IBM designers focused on natural language processing to pick up on inconsistencies and ambiguities. (See Major tasks in NLP)

So with only ten seconds to answer the gameshow’s million-dollar question, how does a computer examine over 4TB or 200 million wiki sources? Did Watson use algorithms to sift through the data? This all led me to wonder, what role does big data and analytics play in the world today?

Putting Watson to Work chiefly explains research expansion in areas of finance, healthcare, mobile communication devices and engagement, or better customer relationships. It has huge potential in cross-industry disciplines. Imagine what Watson can do to drive better data analytics in education if we apply some of these principles:


Transform education through predictive analytics
Learn from software, improving outcomes for individual students
Align vision with data
Anticipate trends that shape the future
Act on decisions that optimize results

The Jeopardy answer was Chicago. I’m sorry Watson, but Toronto is not the US city we were looking for. If you only paid attention to context clues and punctuation: semicolons and syntax; the text directly following it.

Tools for Visual Learning

Visual language is associating words/ideas with diagrams and maps. We see this everyday from simple traffic signs to reading the safety card on an airline flight. But frankly, ‘visual language learning’ is being used to address different ways we process information. For example:

A way to illustrate complex processes. More importantly, you can show relationships between different pieces of information. In the infographic, each step could be hyperlinked to a wiki site with more detailed instructions. This would be perfect to integrate with help or tasked-based topics.

Infographics should be used in the same way that a screenshot is added to a user manual. Each visual should aid in the user’s understanding of a product or process. It should not deter from the objective of the task. is an online mural, ‘Google Docs for visual people’ but it can be used to present information creatively while receiving real-time feedback. Great to instill communication within the organization on the development of a project.

Here is a minimalistic way uses their product for company branding.


As a technical writer one of my responsibilities is to make suggestions to streamline documentation in an organization. Infographics depending on audience and context could be advantageous in creating effective deliverables.