Background :: Many information design projects equip the viewer to act on the information presented. For that action to happen, the viewer must understand the behavior we want from them and be able to do it. The clearer we are with the goal and the path to follow, the more likely the viewer is to act the we want them to. I'd like to present a design problem along those lines that I'm working on right now.

I'm seeking to create a 1-page guide or worksheet to assist renewable energy activists in developing community programs. The purpose of the guide is to communicate the different ways to incentivize adoption of renewable energy to different end users. My team and I want this guide to embody 2 concepts:

  1. Incentives :: There are different sorts of incentives. For example, there are financial incentives like stipends and tax breaks. For another example, there are emotional incentives like feeling good about doing what you believe to be the right thing.
  2. Relationships :: These incentives flow as transactions from one party to another. So a government might issue a tax break to a household, whereas a utility company might offer a stipend to a business, whereas a community leader might offer public recognition to a forward-looking utility company.

I have this drawing, which is intended to help activists ensure that any program they create delivers as many incentives as possible and at least one of each.

Incentives Drawing

However, I feel it does not make it clear (A) how they are supposed to use it and (B) for what purpose. How could I increase clarity of using this guide and clarity of its purpose?

You can read more about our project on OpenIDEO.

Note :: The best answer may or may not address my specific design challenge. They will address some principles of good information design for helping the viewer take a new action.

  • Meta: My last question wasn't very good, and I was encouraged to frame my questions as design problems. I've sought to follow that advice here. Please let me know how I'm doing. I value feedback. A lot. – Crowder Jan 25 '15 at 16:15
  • Perhaps it's me, but I don't really understand what's being asked here. Is that your final graphic? Are you asking about design or organization of information? – Scott Jan 25 '15 at 19:02
  • Thanks for your questions, @Scott. This is not my final graphic. I plan to render my final graphic in OmniGraffle. – Crowder Jan 25 '15 at 21:01
  • @Scott you also asked, "Are you asking about design or organization of information?" Yes. I'm designing a piece of visual communication that includes a lot of information. – Crowder Jan 25 '15 at 21:02
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    But are you asking how the information show flow, or what appearance to use for the information? To be perfectly frank, that sketch is so rough it would take 30 minutes to an hour to even understand it in order to provide any valuable input. – Scott Jan 25 '15 at 21:40

While I think the incentive section is clear, the relationship section isn't clear. I might even consider splitting relationship to "You are a" and "Your Target Market is". or something like that. Also instead of incentives, maybe use "benifits" or "selling points"

Overall though, I find that the purpose or goal of this isn't well communicated (that should also appear, preferably above the table)

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  • Thanks for your critique! I'm going to go back to my team to work on clarifying the purpose. – Crowder Jan 26 '15 at 3:15
  • I'd like to clarify the purpose as asking for input on organizing the information I'm trying to present. Are there any changes you'd recommend me making to the question to clarify its purpose? – Crowder Jan 26 '15 at 15:36

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