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Designing Visual Information

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1 Designing Visual Information
Chapter 12 Designing Visual Information Technical Communication, 12th Edition John M. Lannon Laura Gurak

2 Why Visuals Matter Visuals convey information quickly and efficiently, and help readers to understand Which information is most important What numbers mean, how processes work, or how something is organized What something looks like

3 When to Use Visuals Use visuals whenever they make your point clearer
they enhance the text

4 How Visuals Work Enhance comprehension by displaying abstract concepts in concrete, geometric shapes Make meaningful comparisons possible Depict relationships Serve as a universal language Provide emphasis Focus and organize information, making it easier to remember

5 What Types of Visuals to Consider
Graphs display numerical relationships Charts depict relationships Tables display organized lists of data Graphic illustrations rely on pictures

6 How to Select Visuals What is my purpose? Who is my audience?
What form of information will be achieve my purpose for this audience?

7 Tables Tables are used to display dense textual information such as specifications, comparisons or conditions. No table should be overly complex for the intended audience. Tables work well for displaying exact values. Death Rates for Heart Disease Year Male Female 1980 369 305 1990 298 282 2000 256 260

8 Graphs Graphs translate numbers into shapes that are easy to interpret and compare. Types of graphs include Simple bar graphs Multiple-bar graphs Horizontal bar graphs Stacked bar graphs 100-percent bar graph Deviation bar graph 3-D bar graph

9 Line Graphs Line graphs can accommodate many more data points than a bar graph. Types of graphs include Simple line Graph Multiline Graph Deviation line Graph Band or area Graph Total Sales Volume Price

10 Charts Pie charts Organization charts Flowcharts Tree charts
Gantt and PERT charts Pictograms

11 Sales of Pharmaceuticals by Division
Example of a Pictogram Sales of Pharmaceuticals by Division Midwest West South Northeast $8,000,000 $6,000,000 $4,000,000 $2,000,000

12 Graphic Illustrations
Diagrams Exploded Cutaway Block Maps Photographs Videos

13 Software and Downloadable Images
Using the Software Graphics software Presentation software Spreadsheet software Word-processing software Using Symbols and Icons Readily recognizable to a wide audience

14 Use Color To Organize To Orient To Emphasize

15 Ethical Considerations
Avoid visual distortion Present the real picture. Present the complete picture. Don’t mistake distortion for emphasis. (An example of distortion is on the next slide.)

16 Example of Visual Distortion
Sales of Beer by Store Avoid this graphic Use this graphic Sales of Beer by Store

17 Any Questions? For additional help reviewing this chapter, please visit the Companion Website for your text at

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