Ruth kikin-Gil://
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Max. Interactive | Compulite | Reframer | PrintShop LiveMail | Eye Candies | Makers of the 20th Century |  
Praxis, a strategic consultancy has hired us to redesign their Mind-mapping tool named "Reframer". I've worked closely with an interaction designer to define the application's user experience, in addition I was responsible for all the visual aspects.

Case study : Compulite (2000/1)

Experience design, Creative direction
Design of a professional stage lighting application

Case Study : Praxis' Reframer (2002)
Experience design, Creative direction
Design of an Interactive mind-mapping tool that supports “Systemic reframing thinking” methodology

Max. Interactive's website (2003)
Showcase of Max.'s portfolio and information about the company.



Reframer 3.0 software is a thinking tool for organizations and individuals, thriving to constantly re-invent themselves, by tuning themselves to the changing reality.

The application is used by a facilitator during praxis’s workshop, and after the workshop in the private offices of the leaders and managers who participated in it,.

Reframer is the tool through which Praxis is practicing its “Systemic reframing thinking” methodology (SRT) , which means: breaking through the cognitive framing by which we interpret contexts on hand, and doing this in a continuous manner.


New insights are created by exposing and re-examining currently held perceptions and axioms and by confronting and re-assessing these concepts within a defined context.

These insights are conceived through creation of  “mind map”  that reflects the existing knowledge, and helps to generate a new one. The map’s purpose is to help with the thinking process. It is only a means but not the final purpose. It changes frequently, and the concepts it contains are constantly revised.

The design challenges were:
: : Express and support Praxis’s methodology through the design,
: : Encourage usage by user-experience – Not just useful, but desirable.
: : Create a strong brand – the application should be perceived by its users and by others as a status symbol. We wanted to create a “meditation space” where one can reflect on her state of being (whether organizational or private).

The following concepts were used as guidelines in the brainstorming sessions: Intellect, Inspiration, Cutting edge, Sophisticated but simple, Constant change, Cleanness, Meditation space, Elite, Status symbol.
The metaphor chosen was “The pond of thought”.



The work environment

The work starts in the empty meditation space, where the user defines the map context, and new concepts are added, later to be clarified according to the defined context.
The basic building blocks of the map are the concepts, in addition to that, the user can draw or write directly on the map area or add pictures, sound files, URLs etc.

This is the work space in its primary form:
an empty meditation space

And t his is what an active map looks like.  
  Deliberation space


Here the user creates new ideas and insights by juxtaposing two existing concepts and re-examining them according to the map's context.


Often through this process, new perspectives are gained and new concepts are conceived and added to the map for further exploration. Insights, that are related to the general map context are written and accumulated in the Insights area, at the bottom of the map. The Insights pane opens on top of the map.


The user has the ability to freeze a map state and create a Milestone. All Milestones are gathered in a list which enables comparison to former states of the map, as well as examination of different scenarios and alternatives.

The Milestones pane opens on the Map's left side
  Presentation Mode

The milestones can be displayed as a presentation, with editing abilities during the show, so a dynamic discussion can develop, and its results can bee seen immediately.


Creation Of New Concepts:

New concepts can be created by simply adding texts (the pebble shaped concepts) to the map or by "Reflection in action" - a process which takes place in the Deliberation space .

The process is very simple: the user selects 2 concepts (but not two opposites) from the map, then reflects on them in relation to the Map's context - the "Vague term".
This is a way to create new ideas and insights and add them to the map.


Step 1: choose 2 concepts to confront.
For example: if the map context is “Graduate studies” the two concepts can be: “expanding the intellectual horizons” and “career opportunities”. The user conflict these two concepts with reference to the context. Concepts can be dragged and dropped onto one another to create the conflict.
This process takes place in a special module called Deliberation Space. The Deliberation Space

Step 2: Do nothing. Stare and think
The first action after selecting the concepts and entering the Deliberation Space, is to stare and contemplate at the 3 concepts for few moments, doing nothing, while the concepts are slowly circling before our eyes. This is the meditation stage.

The Deliberation Space

Step 3: write your ideas and thoughts regarding the concepts in relation to the map context.
Then, write down thoughts and ideas regarding the relationship between the 2 concepts and the map contexts. When starting to type, the concepts move up, and clear the central space. The concepts content can be revealed or concealed.

Concept Types

According to the methodology, there are several types of concepts. In order to keep the fluid nature of the map (there is never a final state to it - It changes with reality), it was important to contradict the basic tendency of the user to group the concepts in structured, stagnant blocks.

The pebble shaped concepts were created to achieve this goal. One can't construct a solid composition out of these asymmetrical shapes. The shapes also follow the pond metaphor: concepts are thrown into the pool, stirring the surface, evoking thought ripples.


Potential concept: the basic form of concept. It has a title (I.e. “Portfolio”) but it has no content yet.  

Clarified concept: Concept is considered as “clarified” after explanation text was added to it, and it contains title and description. Only the title is seen on the map. The description can be seen when opening the concept.  

This is what an open concept looks like. The user writes the definitions of the concept and cad attach additional documents to it (i.e.: Word documents, sound and image files, concepts from other maps etc.).  

The user can enlarge the concept to a full frame mode, allowing a quite environment for thought.  
Organizing concept: Is a concept that provides new context to a group of concepts that already exist in the map. The organizing concept unifies diverse concepts by a mutual context.


It appears either diminished – where the group of sub concepts is concealed,

Or augmented – where the concepts are revealed.
Umbrella concept: This type of concept can be thought of as a dictionary entry with several definitions. The user lists the different meanings by creating "sub-concepts" which clarify the Umbrella concept.


It appears either diminished – where the sub concepts are concealed,

Or augmented – where the concepts are revealed.

  Vague term: This is the map context – the “Meta-problem” or “Meta- issue” , the user wants to clarify. It is also represented in the map’s title bar  

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  Former vague term: During the process the user can change the map context into a different one. The map indicates which concepts were the former vague terms.  

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