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April 6, 2012

Periodic Table of Visualization Methods

‘Seriously guys, I geek out over this stuff.”…

Ann Padley

It seems that some days my caffeine intake goes directly to the right side of my brain, leaving the left in blissful, dormant slumber. So I was skeptical when Kathleen A. Paris, Ph.D used the words ‘Periodic Table of’ and ‘Visualization Methods’ in the same phrase. As it turns out, this Periodic Table of Visualization is a real thing and it is a right-brainers dream come true.

The table above was developed by www.visual-literacy.org. Click on it to get a closer look.
Here are my favorite aspects:

It lists 100 ways to communicate your message.

That’s right, 100 ways to communicate. And, as you hover over each communication method, a handy visual graphic will pop up. You are probably familiar with many of the visualization methods represented, but this is a great reference to turn to for those lesser-used visuals that don’t boil up to the surface of your mind as often as they could, such as Mintzberg’s Organigraph or parameter rulers.

It’s organized.

The color-coding system divides the communication methods into groups of visualizations:

  • Data
  • Information
  • Concept
  • Strategy
  • Metaphor
  • Compound

Additionally, you can quickly and easily pick out which visualizations are procedural or structural and if they involve convergent or divergent thinking.

So, if you are a visual learner (or you are trying to communicate with someone who is) and your stumped on how to explain something, give this chart a try.