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The Physics of Notations Tutorial
Designing Diagramming Notations That Work

Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 9:00 am - 17:00 pm

| Special Events |


DR. DANIEL MOODY Download the Tutorial Outline

Director, Ozemantics Pty Ltd, Sydney, Australia

Diagramming notations form an integral part of the “language” of IT practice and have done since the earliest beginnings of the field. They are used at all levels of IT practice, from strategic planning down to integrated circuit design. It is hard to think of any area of IT practice where diagramming notations don’t play a central role: for example, UML in software engineering, BPMN in business process management, PERT charts in project management. They play a particularly critical role in communicating with business stakeholders (end users and customers) because of their ability to present complex ideas in a simple way.

The goal of this tutorial is to establish a scientific basis for diagramming notation design: to help it progress from an art into a science. It defines a set of principles for designing cognitively effective diagramming notations: notations that are optimized for processing by the human mind. Importantly, the design principles are evidence-based: they are not based on common sense, experience or opinion but on theory and empirical evidence about how our visual systems work. Together they provide a scientific basis for constructing diagramming notations, which has previously been lacking in the IT field.

The tutorial will be delivered in an interactive manner, with an emphasis on learning by doing. A range of practical exercises and examples are used to illustrate the principles and give participants practice in applying them. Examples and exercises feature some of the leading diagramming notations used in IT practice (e.g. UML, BPMN) as well as visual notations from other disciplines.

Learning Objectives

  • Design diagramming notations in a systematic, evidence-based manner.
  • Justify choice of symbols with reference to known principles about how our visual systems work.
  • Conduct studies to evaluate the usability and effectiveness of notations.

Intended Audience

  • Notation designers (e.g. members of OMG task forces involved in designing or revising diagramming notations): it defines practical guidelines for constructing effective diagramming notations and improving existing ones.
  • Tool vendors: it provides the basis for providing enhanced tool support for diagramming notations, incorporating advanced graphical capabilities.

Presenter Background

Daniel Moody is a Director of Ozemantics, a Sydney-based information management consultancy firm. He is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts in data modeling and information management and has an international reputation in these fields. He holds a doctorate in Information Systems from the University of Melbourne and has held senior positions in some of Australia’s leading corporations and consultancy firms. He has conducted consulting assignments in 12 different countries, covering a broad range of industries. He has also published over 100 scientific papers, been a keynote speaker 9 times and chaired several international conferences. He was the inaugural President of the Australian Data Management Association (DAMA), former Vice-President on the DAMA International Board and is listed in Who's Who in Science and Engineering. He has lived in 8 different countries, speaks fluent English and can say “hello”, “thank you” and “cheers” in at least 10 different languages.

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