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Stephanie Famuyide
Stephanie Famuyide

From Verbal to Visual: Reviving the Lost Art of Prototyping

“Something is happening. We are becoming a visually mediated society. For many, understanding of the world is being accomplished, not through words, but by reading images –

Paul Martin Lester,
“Syntactic Theory of Visual Communication

Research has shown that communication with a visual dimension is more effective than communication without. Herome Bruner of New York University revealed that people remember only 10% of what they listen to, only 20% of words they read and about 80% of what they see and put into practice.

Though visual communication is deemed more powerful than verbal communication, a combination of the two, carefully and intelligently blended can be extremely powerful. 

Look around you. Visual communication is everywhere - from presentations at work to directions on the street. Today’s generation now lean towards a different mode of learning; there's a pervasive preference for videos, pictures, flashcards and presentations. Communication is now achieved visually more than ever.

Beyond the ability to deliver compelling presentations, the perfected art of visual communication can be extremely useful when dealing with stakeholders. Understanding a 10-page business requirements document can be made easier if the business analyst employs the use of mock-ups/prototypes and process diagrams. 

Edward R. Tufte has emphasized that “To envision information—and what bright and splendid visions can result—is to work at the intersection of image, word, number, art.”

Employ the use of charts, diagrams, tables and colours wherever you can to deliver a powerful combination of the visual and the verbal.

Next time you're churning out that business requirements document, consider using pictures instead of a thousand words....

Stephanie Famuyide (
This entry was published on Feb 16, 2013 / Stephanie Famuyide. Posted in Elicitation (BABOK KA), User Interface & Usability. Bookmark the Permalink or E-mail it to a friend.
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