My co-worker coined a great word. I’d link to him but he doesn’t blog! Busy-o (or maybe busio).
Busyo: a diagram that has some much stuff going on you lose the diagram;s message. They might have too many colors, too many fonts, too many unrelated elements, too much 6pt. text or really just plain too much!
Busyos can be created in any program. But Visio has caught on because it is included with Office. And in the tech industry it is practically required along side white papers and tech briefs. We also deal with a lot of complex concepts that are really hard to describe.
Too bad some people think a Visio is the place to describe it. A diagram with 5 paragraphs really gets that message across. And you need to label every element in the diagram, since geography isn’t taught in schools, no one knows what a legend is. And since there are so many line types in Visio: dotted, jagged, colored, dashed, endpoints, no endpoints, your picture isn’t complete unless you use 5 of them.
At the end of the day, take your diagram and show it to someone outside of your space, who doesn’t understand the topic you are presenting. The new guy, your parents, your sister, the barista. Give them 30 seconds to look at it and ask what they remember. If they remember anything relevant to your message you are on the right track. If they tell you they saw that fluorescent green lightning bolt, you might want to go back to the drawing board.
The next time you are building a diagram, please follow the fashion adage remove one accessory before you leave the house. 🙂