Pictures as communication tools

by Marty Crossland on May 8, 2008

I recently read a very interesting blog post about illustrations as communications devices. Some research cited found that integrating text ON pictures instead of UNDER pictures as captions was found to be much more effective for information presentation.Common practice used to be to include illustrations as supplemental information to the text of a presentation or document. What recent practice has shown to be even more effective is reversing these roles: The illustration becomes the primary vehicle of information transfer, with any related text being view as supplemental. Quite a change in mindset for many of us traditional teachers and authors of learning materials.

Here is a quote from the article:
“In previous generations, graphics were generally illustrations, accompanying the text and providing elucidation. For today’s Games Generation, the relationship is almost completely reversed: the role of text is to elucidate something that was first experienced as an image.” He goes on to say, “They find it much more natural than their predecessors to begin with visuals and to mix text and graphics in a richly meaningful way.”

This research could have a lot of relevance for those of us who create educational materials.

Read more at the Creating Passionate Users blog.

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