My first experience using Visio 2013 fittingly happened while working for Microsoft. My position as a Service Center Specialist for Microsoft has me working in a new department in charge of billing for premier service contracts and has little to do with Technical Writing.
My computer came preloaded with Windows 8 and nearly a complete compliment of Microsoft Programs including Visio and Publisher. As an SCS, I was required to use workflows developed on Visio in order to accurately complete billing processes. This gave me a chance to explore Visio 2013 and get to know the changes and new capabilities. After getting up to speed I began using Visio to take notes, create flowcharts and to produce diagrams for my personal reference collection.
I quickly found that I absolutely loved using Visio in this way and continued to do so throughout my training. Eventually the instructor requested some of these diagrams for use in her future classes. After vigorously proofing them, I handed them over to her. After the training subsided, I found myself still making use of Visio through various means, I even made my wife a flower to remedy a bad day she had at the office.
Unable to stay away, I began playing with a few ideas during my lunch hours and ended up with the one idea that stuck, creating a comic using only Visio and Publisher. I mused over the idea for quite a while, contemplating various stories and themes. For quite some time I was unable to devise an idea that would work within the bounds of my Visio knowledge. When searching for people to use as characters, I came across two lonely stencils, Person 1 and Person 2. I found humor in the only two named figures and finally decided to use them as the characters for my comic. After developing personalities, backgrounds and life goals for the two I began working on the settings for the comic.
Restricted to breaks and my hour for lunch I assumed the project would take me quite some time. This proved inaccurate as Visio lends itself quite well to the creation and production of a comic. My first attempts were quite rough, and looked as if I could have drawn the comic by hand with better production value.
The initial production took a while as I found myself fighting with the layout, organization and spread of images. After some experimentation however I quickly began to understand the art of producing images and scenes that reflected my goals and desire for the comic.
The settings began to sprout and I found a story developing merely by watching the scenes come to life. I began writing my story on paper and developing ideas for panels. This was the biggest obstacle for me. I originally planned on using a traditional grid format but found that with the scenes I was developing, a grid would be restrictive and detrimental to the overall production. Using publisher, I eventually began using a less traditional free form layout. While the scenes usually aligned to fill the page, many times the layout was a bit more abstract which aided the hand drawn theme I was aiming for.
At this point I found the comic taking shape quickly and before I knew it I was nearing the conclusion of chapter one. At this point my breaks were getting shorter and my lunch was often shortened by work and other such developments. In light of my diminishing time for leisure, the comic would end at chapter one until I had time to pick it up again. I began the process uploading the final pages to the WordPress site I had developed for the comic, www.Personsoneandtwo.wordpress.com. It was at this point that I finally witnessed the progress I had made in the development of the comic. Looking from the initial pages to the concluding panels I was amazed to see how they had evolved from simple scenes to outlandish and intricate portraits of Person 1 and Person 2’s lives.
Through my experimentation and the creation of Persons 1 and 2, I was able to quickly grow in my understanding of Visio. Though the comic itself is nothing related to Technical Writing as a profession, it is a testament to the creativity that can be implemented into the process of writing technical documentation. Technical Writing is often seen as dry, humorless and without creativity. I have always disagreed with these assertions and will always strive to find creative possibilities in my work.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to voice them and I will respond as promptly as I am able. Thank you for reading.