David J. Cox  Explanation by Pattern  Main Idea


Main Claim
Case Study
User Comments
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OR Complexity
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Sages Say


"Logic clarified to a degree beyond belief!"

Systems Analyst, Procter & Gamble

This e-book describes how to design instructions ('explanations') with which people can navigate successfully through any complex situation or system. The situations or systems could include all the ways to make your computer software work; how to enroll in college courses; when and how to submit any health care claim; all the ways your credit card works or doesn't; how to calculate your taxes for all conditions; all the combinations of things you can do to avoid getting swine flu.

It suggests using a type of game-like pattern that people find easy to understand, use, and succeed with. The patterns resemble hopscotch game patterns that children draw on playgrounds. They also resemble game boards--chess boards filled with unequal-size rectangles instead of uniform squares. The rectangles describe user actions. The game rules are very simple--almost obvious.

A quick picture of the format is shown in the Demonstration section. The method has proven to be far simpler for people to understand than text (sentence) form when the subject involves complex logic--even a few IFs, ORs, ANDs, NOTs, for example.

The claim may become clearer in view of these facts:

(1)   Sentences are not maps.  The single strand of text doesn’t give readers a picture or map of the multiple paths to multiple endpoints that are typical of complex situations. In this sense, text is unfriendly.

(2)   Most diagrams and maps aren’t friendly, either.  Many kinds of diagrams have existed for years --  flow charts, tree structures, and road maps, for example.  With the one exception described in (3), diagrams look ‘technical’ and have ‘parts’ (symbols and connecting lines, for example) that seem to be unfriendly to most people.

(3)   An exceptionally friendly type of diagram is available.  For any complex system, users see a simple picture of  all  navigation paths that are available.  Its simplicity comes from avoiding the use of words, symbols, and formulas.  It is remarkably friendly; at least all users have said so.

In the logo diagram above, you can taste the simplicity of how these diagrams work. When you see how the 9 parts form 11 top-down navigational paths, you will have learned how to navigate through nearly all FLIPP diagrams, including even those that have millions of overlapping and branching user scenarios. The number of pages of explanation is often reduced by 90%. Subject information (found in the frames) can be in any language, in any form, and in any quantity. The logic of the connections becomes independent of language and of symbols.

How to use the method in (3) is now freely available in this Web site as a public service.  The intent is to enable people to better understand each other.

To summarize:  The claim, based on experience,  is that users and managers of complex systems greatly prefer the user-logic of complex systems to be pictured in simple form without language or symbols or formulas, where ‘logic’ is defined as how the parts of these systems are connected to form all existing valid user paths (‘scenarios’).§

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