Whilst considering the mapping stage of the project it became necessary to think about ways of organising data and relationships. By chance (is there ever such a thing?) an article about dyslexia and left and right brain dominance in artists arrived as part of an email promotion. (See http://painting.about.com/od/rightleftbrain/a/ArtistDyslexia.htm and http://painting.about.com/library/quiz/blquiz-rightbrain2.htm).
Since I am ambidextrous, have left-right confusion and have challenges with spelling and maths I have often wondered if I am dyslexic (or have discalcula). The test and article, however threw open lots of other door as they revealed the difference between how left and right brain dominant people function and visualise. With left-brain dominant people more rigidly organised, neat and ordered and right-brain dominant people more intuitive, apparently chaotic (though they know where their stuff is) and clear differences in decision-making processes the question was raised as to which ways right-brain dominant people use the internet differently to their left-brain dominant colleagues, and also whether a designers’ brain dominance balance affects the ethos and practical outcomes of their designs. Was Muller Brockmann left brain dominant – and therefore biologically predisposed to need the order of his beloved grids rather than choosing them as a socially influenced solution to perceived design and aesthetic requirements. Is my own interest in non-regimented “organic”, more freeform methods of navigation a function of my right-brain dominance? How does Gestalt theory sit with all of this? (see: http://daphne.palomar.edu/design/gestalt.html)
(Considerable web-based research didn’t reveal which dominance Brockmann had, but I would love to know!!)
Famous right-brained individuals include Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci – so it doesn’t follow that right brain dominance leads to disordered work or results, just a different way of getting to answers. (http://barbara-pytel.suite101.com/famous-right-brains-a2553)
Now I know I think different to more than half the population (as well as why I have an untidy office) I have to factor that into how I design site navigation. What seems obvious to me may be a leap too far for a left-brainer who needs more structure – I must not presume comprehension of a system I think is clear and functional. I guess now I have to find out which of my friends are left dominant and ask them what they think of my navigation systems – and at an early design stage.
An interesting side issue question that occurred was whether, in the web community, right-brain dominants tend to become designers and left-brain dominants become coders/developers? So far research isn’t helping much on that one, but there is anecdotal evidence – see the infographic below and particularly the posts on the blog.