deck01-okMapCI Cards  (Mapping Complex Information Cards) were designed by Dr. Sheila Pontis as one outcome of her doctoral investigation (Pontis, 2012) to support information designers’ thinking process and minimise the production of ambiguous and cluttered diagrams. This tool builds on the work by John Walker (1979),  Ken Garland (1979), Jacques Bertin (1983), Denis Wood (1992), Edward Tufte (1998), Clive Richards (1984), Richard S. Wurman (1989, 2001), Yuri Engelhardt (2002), Nathan Shedroff (2003), Dan Roam (2008), and Max Roberts (2005), and user studies designed to investigate how information designers make decisions and construct an understanding.

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Testimonies from designers

This tool has been tested in professional practice with experienced information designers:

The experience with MapCI Cards was positive for me. It felt to me a bit like a ‘to-do list’, reminding me to cover all the areas I needed to make a successful diagram.  I am definitely going to use these in the future more. I feel that MapCI Cards could help designers get their design practice more in balance, turn away from habits that might not be good for your practice. Information Designer

The best aspect of MapCI Cards is that it helps you break down the information and think about the key points. (…) MapCI Cards have enhanced my conceptual design stage of other projects, as when I reference the cards, they can help me get to key points and elements of many design projects. Graphic Designer

I read them all [the cards] after I read the brief and before I started the project. I had an idea of what I needed to do before that, but with the cards it became more solid. In addition, the cards put into words the ideas that I had in my mind. The information of the cards was always present in the back of my mind, but I didn’t know how to name it. Graphic Designer

In the beginning, the cards helped me to start making notes on the important bits of the articles and then they guided me to create a hierarchy. Graphic Designer

The cards guided me through the process. It made me produce a list of requirements I had present in my mind when it was time to make draft proposals. Maybe without the cards I would tend to forget some aspects or to overlook them. And that could lead to a failed product. Graphic Designer

Pontis, S. (2012). Guidelines for conceptual design to assist diagram creators in information design practice. PhD Thesis, London College of Communication, University of the Arts London.