Visual Requirement Definition: Establishing the Point for a Clear Commonality of Understanding

Today’s show dealt with a term that while descriptive may not be readily understood by many – which by the way proves a point of which I will explain a little later in this post.

Visual Requirement Definition (VRD) can at first glance mean anything from being the test results from an eye exam to the specifications for the latest and greatest plasma high definition television.

However, and in the context of my interview with Blueprint’s Matt Morgan, and in particular his reference to a study which indicated that the human brain is geared more towards receiving information by way of visual input versus say the written word, the VRD concept quite nicely aligns with the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words?

Now just to be clear, we are not talking about preferred learning styles which attempts to identify an individuals (particularly a child’s) visual, auditory and kinaesthetic tendencies to learn.  Although a number of papers such as “Web-based Learning Interaction and Learning Styles” by the British Journal of Educational Technology, and “Learning Styles and Resistance to Change: Something’s Got to Give” from the Society of Technology and Teacher Education will likely deliver some degree of intrinsic value in the business world.

Nor I should point out are we talking about preferred methods of communication.  Although a study from January 2008 indicating that 65 percent of all business executives prefer communicating by e-mail, almost double of what it was a decade earlier, may provide testimony to an increasingly shorter attention span in the executive suite.  The fact that the preference for face-to-face interaction decreased by 13 points down to 31 percent during the same period may also be an indication that the social media evolution is well underway.

What I am talking about is the Missourian “Show Me” edict or, what Robert Lane and Dr. Stephen Kosslyn explained in their February 2009 article, “Show Me! What Brain Research Says About Visuals In PowerPoint.”

Specifically, the article discussed “how the human brain handles visual input and the implications for PowerPoint presentations.”  Based on their research, both Lane and Kosslyn recommended that “most of those carefully thought-out words on slides” be eliminated and replaced with “certain kinds of rich imagery.”  Doing so they concluded would “efficiently feed the brain what it likes to see,” and enable the presenter “to communicate messages in ways not possible with words alone.”

How does this tie into today’s show with Matt Morgan, and more specifically with his company’s solutions?  Quite simply, and based on the above findings as well as those from numerous other reports, Blueprint deliberately structured their enterprise-requirement software to build visual bridges of communication and understanding between diverse stakeholders both within and external to an organization.  This Morgan contends is why Blueprints’ solutions represents a significant breakthrough in terms of reversing the high rate of initiative failures that have plagued the enterprise software industry from its early days.

Looking back at my opening comments, and specifically my reference to “descriptive understanding,” as a writer my primary means of communication is through words.  To this point it has taken me nine paragraphs to illustrate or explain why today’s show was so fascinating.

In Matt Morgan’s world, this would have been accomplished with one or two sildes or images.  Perhaps I should learn how to draw?

In the meantime, check out today’s broadcast through the On-Demand Player below.

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