Visually Making Sense of Complex Information

Stephen Anderson · Wednesday, March 7 · 8:30am – 5:30pm · Salon D

Communicate complex ideas and concepts with compelling visualizations. Integrate powerful visual artifacts into your product development process.

Gain techniques and patterns for displaying data in an easily digestible way. Design information to guide users in making informed decisions.

Stephen is a world renowned speaker and author of the books, “Seductive Interaction Design” and “Design for Understanding.” He will share his nearly two decades of experience creating compelling and interactive visualizations.

The Day’s Agenda


Take advantage of a common visual language for deconstructing artifacts

  • See how different visual models communicate patterns to users
  • Make sense of complex ideas through creative spatial arrangements
  • Understand how objects, territories, and placement influence understanding of information

Establish a process for solving the different types of visual problems

  • Frame the problem and analyze the data before establishing a visual model
  • Prioritize the data with stakeholders to determine the stories you want to tell
  • Choose the appropriate visual representation to address common stakeholder requests


Apply visual treatments to communicate information meaningfully

  • Learn the common patterns behind visualizations
  • Take advantage of objects, base layers, and control boxes
  • Apply meaning with the use of size, color, and shape

Deconstruct the pros and cons of common types of visualization tools

  • Evaluate the strengths and limitations of Kanban boards, Gantt charts, and resource planning tools
  • Deconstruct service blueprints, customer journeys, concept models, and dashboards
  • Move beyond styling the widgets to answering the right questions

Learn a proven process for communicating complex data to users and organizational stakeholders

Master visualization tools by uncovering the underlying patterns that drive them

By learning to identify familiar visual patterns and when and why they work, teams can choose the best tool for communicating their most complex content.

See the ways people respond to different types of visual encodings

Create a powerful visual artifact by understanding the brain’s natural pattern-matching mechanisms and how human memory works.

Learn when to say “no” to dashboards and pie charts

All too often, stakeholders request a specific design deliverable without clearly communicating the problem it will solve. Helpful designs aren’t about graphics alone. You will see how familiar patterns, user insights, data, and stories go into crafting powerful visualizations.

You’ll see how to:

  • Use visual cues and spatial arrangement to convey meaning
  • Take advantage of strong visuals to enhance understanding of user research and product opportunities
  • Identify the common elements of successful visual models
  • Choose the appropriate visuals to answer your most pressing questions
  • Communicate content to users in a meaningful and compelling way
  • Evaluate the visual artifacts your team currently uses in their work

Distill your ideas into clear and engaging visual models

Design visual artifacts that effectively facilitate teamwork and collaboration

By understanding the benefits of common visual artifacts, including Experience Maps, Service Blueprints, and Gantt Charts, you will align your executives, product managers and engineers on priorities.

Identify the basic elements of visual representations

By understanding the fundamental principles behind the visual display of information, you will have the tools to create your own visual models unique to your organization’s needs.

Communicate meaning by prioritizing the arrangement of information

Take advantage of arrangement, sequence, shape, boundaries, and relationships to achieve shared understanding of complex data.

Organize your content to successfully connect with users

To create a successful visualization, you will learn how to design content for facilitating understanding and simplifying user decisions.

Create meaningful visualizations in hands-on exercises

You’ll work individually and in groups to define a complex information problem, brainstorm how to represent key data, and help users make sense of it all through the design of an engaging visualization.

Stephen Anderson

Photo of Stephen Anderson

Here’s what Jared says about why he chose Stephen for this conference…

Stephen is the man behind Mental Notes card deck—a tool that’s widely used by product teams to apply psychology to interaction design. He also authored Seductive Interaction Design, which answers the question: “How do we get people to fall in love with our applications?”

Stephen is current working at Capital One, where he works with product teams using interactive visualizations, emotional design, and other fun techniques. You can check @stephenanderson for everything he’s learning.

Oh, and he’s been a fan favorite of past UIE seminars—so we know you’ll love every minute of his day-long workshop and featured talk, too.

On Tuesday, Stephen will give a featured talk, Friction, More or Less.

↑ To the top of Stephen’s workshop description