Communicating Testing using Visuals

Stumbled across this excellent little interview with Dave Gray from Communication Nation talking about communicating ideas using Visuals. Dave talks about organisations having a cool head, a warm heart and a firm hand.


Which roughly translates as Senior Management (the head) communicating using complicated diagrams, org charts and bar charts (abstracts). Supervisors and leads (the heart) communicating using more metaphoric, understandable visuals that motivate and inspire and the workers (firm hands) themselves communicating using clear outlines and achieveable steps (concrete actions).


So what has this got to do with testing? Well, not only is it a fascinating introduction to using Visual to communicate, create and think but it also goes someway to explaining our desire for metrics and how they are communicated. The more remote we are from the shop floor, the more often we prefer graphs and bar charts. That’s a sweeping statement but it does go some way to explaining why certain people work with (and expect) certain reports and communications.


A more pertinent point Dave makes though is that we are cultured (educated??) out of using simple drawings to communicate ideas. Our society expects slick, glossy, high flying diagram and visuals. We become less confident using fun, interesting and down to earth visuals to explain things.


At work I use drawings a lot to record user scenarios and complex problems. There’s lots of talk about using mind maps to explore ideas and heat maps to point out areas of high bug counts for example. And of course, the work we do at The Software Testing Club has never let go of the idea that fun, interesting and down to earth images in an interesting layout are a great way of communicating


The video is incredibly insightful: