In praise of 2D diagrams

I have been doing a lot of work with WebXR. That involves creating a lot of animated 3D representations of technical things.

Still, when I am trying to explain a mechanical thing, I find that a well placed 2D diagram is incredibly helpful. On reason for this is that people understand 2D diagrams. They are something that everyone grew up with and form a kind of visual language that we all know.

Another reason is that the constraint of 2D forces you to be clear. It’s like a visual haiku — when you need to describe everything within a plane, you learn how to show things with maximum clarity.

Ideally, it’s not one or the other. I would like my 2D diagrams to serve as entry points for encountering fully interactive and immersive animated 3D reprentations of the things I wish to describe.

We need more and better tools for helping people to do that.

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