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Goals of the Visual Workplace

Ever tried to explain something to somebody over the phone, and they had no idea what you meant? Sometimes information that may seem obvious can be difficult to explain clearly in words.

Brain can process visual information very quickly

The brain can process visual information very quickly, so using visual cues can have a big impact on how effectively you are able to communicate with colleagues or customers.

There are visual cues all over — think of road signs, traffic lights, and elevator buttons. At work you can expect to find process flow charts, status charts, indication lights, colored labels, and even simple arrows. The key to what makes visual cues so effective, is that they’re simple and succinct.

Much faster to look

Visual cues help convey information quickly and they reduce the need for repeated verbal messages or costly documentation. It’s much faster to look at a pie chart for resource allocation, for example, than to read a paragraph-long description of it.

In a Lean working environment, a visual workplace uses visual cues effectively to convey information. You can expect to see signs, layouts, charts, and color codes. So an electrical hazard warning sign warns employees to stay out of range of energized equipment.

And a color-coded filing system makes it easier for a filing clerk to put different forms into the right folders quickly. Hospital visitors can look at a simple map of the layout of the floor they’re on to get where they want to go.