App for That: The Data Visualization Catalogue

Looking for new ways to visually present your ideas?

The Data Visualization Catalogue, developed by graphic designer Severino Ribecca, is a great resource for expanding your design language. It includes 60 different kinds of charts, complete with examples, explanations of what each chart is good for, and perhaps most useful of all, a list of applications that can be used to generate each kind of chart, even the most obscure.

App for That: Font Map

Looking for a new font for your presentation, but don’t know where to find it? Enter IDEO’s Font Map, which organizes 800 different fonts in a 2D space, grouping them based on similarities. For example, here’s the corner of the map that includes the font that’s used in The Science of Speaking, Alegreya.

If you want to learn more about how Font Map was created, you can read this post about it by Kevin Ho on Medium.

App for That: Autodraw

According to Dan Roam, author of The Back of the Napkin, drawing is a powerful tool for improving our thinking and presenting.

But what if you’re absolutely terrible at drawing? It turns out there’s now an app for that!

Enter Google’s AutoDraw, which allows you to draw a terrible drawing, and suggests a more elegant drawing that was crafted by a professional, which its machine learning algorithms suggest is similar to yours. Then you can add colors, or modify the drawing, and download it for easy use. And best of all, it works on any device, desktop or mobile, and is absolutely free!

Here’s a video with more information and a demo of how it works:

App for That: Brainstorming that Works

In The Science of Speaking, I cite research showing that contrary to popular belief, traditional brainstorming doesn’t actually work very well. The best method is actually for each member of the group to come up with their own list of ideas first, then pool the ideas and work from there.

Today, I found out there’s an app for that: Candor, developed by Loran Nordgren. As the website notes,

Candor works by decoupling the generation of ideas from the evaluation of ideas. This means that people generate ideas privately at the beginning of the meeting, before they learn the opinions of the other people in the room. The team then reviews all the ideas generated before evaluating them.

This is exactly the process that research has shown works the best, producing a greater diversity of ideas and ultimately leading to better solutions.

I can’t wait to try it out!

Thanks to Susan M. Weinschenk for introducing me to the Candor app.

App for That: Outsource Your Attire

In a recent blog post, I wrote about the dangers of spending too much time and energy worrying about what to wear for your presentations, and gave some advice on how to solve this problem, including picking your attire ahead of time and developing a personal style.

Today, I have another strategy to add to the list.

Yesterday on TechCrunch, Sarah Perez wrote about a new feature in the Amazon app called Outfit Compare that allows you to submit two photos of yourself wearing different outfits. A minute later, an Amazon stylist will tell you which one looks better, on a scale of “It Was a Close Call” to “Definitely Pick This One!” based on “fit, color, styling, and current trends.” To find it, Perez says to look in the “Programs and Features” section of the sidebar. (In my app on iOS, it was actually under “Other Ways to Shop.”)

While this strategy requires you to have picked out two outfits to compare—which for some people might actually be even more difficult—this app could potentially help you relieve the stress of having to make the ultimate decision by outsourcing it someone with fashion expertise.