Tuesday, November 17, 2009

bCisive vs Visio and the rest

Microsoft Visio is primarily a computerized drawing program. With it you can draw very precise diagrams in a multitude of different styles. It is great for visual communication. In fact Microsoft suggest that we all "Learn why Visio is the key to Visual Communication". Fair enough!

But before visual communication, you need to think and work through what you want to communicate, and this can also best be done visually. For visual thinking -- both working individually and in groups -- you need something that is simpler and quicker to use. bCisive (desktop and online) are such tools.

They allow you to manipulate ideas like pieces of Lego, which snap into place. The user concentrates on re-arranging to reveal relationships and structure, while the computer handles layout in a largely automatic fashion. Visio et al. are not really suitable for this kind of activity; especially when working in groups.
bCisive is for visual thinking and visual communication.
Where Visio encourages you to futz with appearance, bCisive is suited to working with substance. The desktop version provides a range of visual methodologies suitable for a wide variety of activities from capturing discussion in meetings to analyzing hypotheses, or just brainstorming. [In the online version we plan to provide options for customization around common organizational language and processes.]

Because bCisive diagrams look pretty damn good -- if not as polished or providing as wide a variety of diagrams as those of Visio (and friends) -- it is also a handy visual communication tool. Both versions even provide tools to break a map into a sequence of PowerPoint slides, and structured text output in a variety of forms (coming soon to the online version) to make going from preparation to communication straightforward and efficient.

bCisive helps you do visual thinking and communication, and one of our challenges at Austhink software is maintaining a happy balance between these aspects.

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