Guidelines for Presenting Visuals
Although many people are more likely to learn and remember information when it is presented visually, visual aids must meet specific guidelines in order to be effective. The following characteristics are typically a part of good visuals:
- Understandable format A visual needs a point/thesis statement just like a written assignment, but its thesis statement is represented in two ways: 1) it is made visually through the visual itself, and 2) it is reflected in the object’s caption and/or title. First, decide what you want the visual to do and then use the proper type of visual to help you accomplish this task. Information within the visual should be logically organized.
- Supportive context The written text and the visual should enhance and support each other. For example, a book may be explaining the success a business encountered with the use of a particular marketing strategy and then display a visual illustrating the financial numbers and increase associated with that strategy. By explaining the marketing strategy through text, the book has provided a context for the visual.
- Ethical information It is imperative always to be honest with your audience. Do not be tempted to omit information that is less than flattering simply to give a false visual representation. When the audience notices the missing information, the credibility of the rest of the document is destroyed.
- Proper placement Avoid placing a graphic before it is mentioned
in the text because it may cause confusion. If at all possible, the visual should
be placed on the page where it is mentioned or on the page immediately following
this information. If you present more than one table or figure, then be sure to
number them properly and include a title next to each numbered label. Tables should
be labeled up top and figures should be labeled below. Always include source information
below the table or figure.
Copyright 2003 by the Student Success Center and the University of Houston-Victoria.
Created 2003 by Candice Chovanec Melzow.
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