Saturday, 3 March 2012

5 Lessons DrawSomething teaches on Visualization for Presentation


Draw Something is now one of the hottest apps in the world, and have just secured its 5,000,000 downloads a few days ago. The trend has reached Hong Kong recently, so i have given it a chance and see how it works. The game play is definitely fun and engaging as mentioned by the reviews, but what surprised me is that, the draw-&-guess model, or simply "the Pictionary game", is indeed involving some quite important concept that one could easily leverage for more effective presentation through abstractive drawing. Here's some tricks that you may find useful (for presentation or just getting more coins in Draw Something!!).

Enjoy. :)

1. Be Iconic on Abstraction

Some icons have indeed already be implemented in our brain for soooo long. The red tick from Nike, the bright yellow letter "M" from McDonald, the sea-blue thumb-up Like icon from facebook, and a pink heart-shape for the feeling of Love. Leveraging these iconic items would easily help audience to setup the linkage between your image to a brand, a feeling and even emotion, and thus a more smooth flow for your presentation.

2. Be Indicative with Details (that you want to talk about)


Sometime we can't avoid to show the whole picture of some complex model or structure, says the infrastructure of a banking system, or a multi-parties business model, as we have to build common understanding on top of these macroscopic views before going into details. So what should we do for the next step when we just want to discuss part of it? Highlight it. Either a circle to one of the module in the banking system, or a Green Arrow to show the expect cashflow from parties to parties in the business model. Narrowing view down helps audience to focus on just one particular topic or issue.

3. Be Associative with Story

How could we describe how certain framework or workflow would be working practically, even worse how could we demonstrate a concept within that model? Tell a story. Taking the "Comet" as the example, solely a brown ball with fire-lines could have quite a lot of possibility, but what if we have an Earth to show that this "ball" only exist in the space? So does the lovely crowbar drawing that i find on the web, we all know that its iconic red-S-shape, but how could we narrow the understanding of audience? Yes, Mr. Freeman uses it well. :P

Bonus Tips: the Crowbar picture demonstrate one also important factor (though it's not quite about drawing), is that the story must be a "common knowledge" between the speaker and audience. Half-life is a famous game, but of course don't expect EVERYONE knows this. :)

4. Be Comparative among Items

Our eyes are indeed very good at comparing visual entities. And indeed, how we distinguish something among others, like an apple from orange, is actually based on comparisons: color, size, shape, details, etc. How could we show a Tiger? Well it's a big cat to me. How could we demonstrate it's a big cat? Draw a smaller one next to it! Show also other details including visualizing the verbal difference between them. The same trick could be applied to business presentation, says, how could we should we have a big improvement in profit this quater? Easy, make a bar chart with two bars, one shows last quater profit while the other one show the current quater. Make it more indicative by adding an uprising green arrow. The concept of business improvement is thus easily demonstrated.

5. Be Demonstrative for Flow

Processes, workflows, use cases, customer experiences, all of these require a demonstration of flows from one stage to another. How could we let people to understand the steps of all these transition? Animated it or draw the flow. The "Writing" is an animated example, which leverage the hidden clues that the game allow us to provide: the Step in Drawing - which draw first? which one last? If the words are "drawn" before the "paper", it might be very hard to understanding the "writing" keywords. The "Catwoman" is another example, by introducing a step-by-step drawing, we're indeed leading our audience to follow what we want them to follow. By walking through all the stages one-by-one for audience, it makes them so much easier to get the whole picture of some complex mechanism.


Remember, a presentation is a combination between images and stories. Indicative drawing could be helpful on presentation, but we still need to have a story with supportive data to make the story really sound. So don't focus too much on the drawing. Content is the King.

Now it's your turn. Have you found a few tricks in DrawSomething? Or do you have any other cheats for presentations? Comment below and share with everyone ! :)

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See you next time. :)


P.S. I draw some of the above image... Guess which one(s) is mine !! XD

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