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Visualizing the work

I’m a Content Designer, and as a person whose job is all about using words to communicate, I realize that overwhelming people with a wall of words to convey a point means they might not read all those precious characters. And strictly dealing with the written word, excludes people whose preferred learning style is auditory, visual, or kinesthetic.

A cultural change happening in the Atlassian Design org is Show, don’t just tell where we strive to establish a shared context with each other through visuals. Visuals can be the shortest way to communicate complexity in ways that words constructed in a linear way can’t. Plus, working in a remote-first company like Atlassian, collaboration happens digitally, so bringing people physically into a room for a workshop or meeting is highly unlikely.

I’ve found that visual tools like Mural, Miro, Figma, and Figjam coupled with Loom or Zoom have made my messy, early thoughts MUCH easier to convey than writing full sentences in Slack or a Confluence page that have to stand alone.

Here’s a pretty basic example. There were a few things that the team needed to agree on before we held a workshop. It took less than 10 minutes to create a simple visual and 2 minutes to record me talking about it.


I shared the Figma file and the Loom recording with the request that people give me feedback. I didn’t specify where or how because I wanted feedback however they gave it. Some people went into Figma to comment, others responded with emojis in the Loom, and one person recorded a Loom to respond to my Loom. #loomception :lol:

Our team has also used whiteboards to generate ideas together for solving a particular problem. The setup for these kinds of sessions is pretty standard:

  • Set the intention

  • Make sure everyone understands

  • Take x amount of time to add thoughts.

  • Come back together and discuss

This method is really democratic, in my opinion, and levels the playing field for introverts and extroverts alike! It would also be super hard to do this when the canvas is just a page of words. But when you have a wide-open canvas, unlimited sticky notes that don’t lose their adhesive, markers that never dry up, and the ability to comment on the work of others, the flow of information is only limited by your own creativity.

Obviously, there is an initial learning curve when trying a new tool to visualize your thoughts for the first time, but it’s become much easier with some practice.

Share your ideas and strategies for building a shared context through visual communications in the comments!

1 comment

Dominika Kuraś-Moskwa _Deviniti_
Marketplace Partner
Marketplace Partners provide apps and integrations available on the Atlassian Marketplace that extend the power of Atlassian products.
August 31, 2023

I agree! Sometimes a good visual (even if it takes you more time to prepare than a text) can save you much time spent on explanations and checking whether everybody is on the same page :) 

For me, Figma, Miro or even a Trello board is better than long sentences of the idea's description.

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