Learning Objectives

recognize the characteristics of efficient visual aids. Analyze different species of intuitive aids and also appropriate means to use them. Determine how to produce original intuitive aids and also how to find visual aids produced by others.

Good interaction is a multisensory experience. Children an initial learning exactly how to read often gravitate toward publications with engaging pictures. Together adults, us graduate to denser books without pictures, yet we still visualize ideas to help us know the text. Advertisers donate visual media—television, magazines, and billboards—because they room the best method to hook one audience. Websites rely on color, graphics, icons, and also a clear mechanism of visual company to engage Internet surfers.

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Bringing visuals right into a presentation to add color, literally and also figuratively. There is an art to doing it well. This section covers exactly how to use different kinds of intuitive aids effectively.

Using visual Aids: The Basics

Good authors make mindful choices. They understand their purpose and audience. Every decision they make on the page, from arranging an essay to choosing a indigenous with just the appropriate connotations, is made v their purpose and also audience in mind.

The exact same principle uses to visual communication. As a presenter, you select the following:

when to present images or video clip for maximum affect Which images will best produce the result you want once to existing information making use of a table, chart, or other graphic how much message to include in slides or informational graphics just how to theorem graphics therefore they existing information plainly

Your score is to usage visual media come support and enhance your presentation. In ~ the very same time, you need to make certain these media execute not distract your audience or interfere with acquiring your suggest across. Her ideas, no your visuals, have to be the focus.

As you develop the visual side of her presentation, you will follow a process much favor the process you follow when you write. You will certainly brainstorm ideas, form an business plan, construct drafts, and then refine and edit her work. The adhering to sections administer guidelines to assist you make an excellent decisions transparent the process.

What provides Visual Aids Effective?

To assist you get a sense of what makes visual media work, think around what does not work. Shot to recall occasions once you have witnessed the adhering to visual media failures:

web page crammed through so countless images, flashing phrases, and clashing colors that they are nearly unreadable Assembly instructions v illustrations or diagrams that are difficult to follow Photographs that room obviously (and badly) altered with photo-editing software Distracting typos or various other errors in signs, advertisements, or headlines Tables, charts, or graphs with tiny, dense text or missing labels

In each case, the difficulty is the the media creator did no think closely enough around the purpose and also audience. The function of images, color, or flashing text on a website is to tempt attention. Overusing these facets defeats the purpose because the viewer may become overwhelmed or distracted. Tables, charts, and graphs room intended to simplify complicated information, but without clean labels and also legible text, they will confuse the audience.

In contrast, effective visual facets are preferred or developed with the purpose and audience in mind. Although a picture shoot because that a magazine short article might an outcome in dozens the images, editors select those couple of that work best with the article. Web designers and video clip game creators have an audience test your products before they room released, come ensure that world will understand how to usage them. Expertise the role of different visual aids will assist you usage them through purpose.

Types of intuitive Aids

Visual aids autumn into two main categories—images and informational graphics. Images incorporate photographs, illustrations and clip art, and video clip footage. Informational graphics encompass tables, charts, bar graphs, and line graphs.

These visual aids serve two purposes: to include emotional impact to her presentation and to theorem information more clearly. Through that in mind, review to find out exactly how specific varieties of visual aids accomplish those purposes.


A striking photo can capture your audience’s attention far an ext successfully than words can. Consider including photographs in ~ the start or finish of her presentation come emphasize your main principles or to companion a particularly important suggest in the body of her presentation. Psychic that, as with other types of graphics, less is frequently more. 2 or 3 well-chosen photographs are more effective 보다 a dozen mediocre ones.

When you choose photographs, ask yourself these questions:

What purpose does this photo serve? will it surprise the audience? will certainly it provoke a strong emotional response? Does the support an essential point? will certainly this picture be more effective if presented with only a caption, or does the need extr text? will certainly the audience understand what is happening in the photograph? Is the meaning immediately evident, or walk the photo need some context? Would modifying the photo make it an ext effective? consider using image-editing software to chop the photo, adjust the brightness, or make other cosmetic changes. (Do not go overboard, though. A slightly imperfect yet authentic photo is preferable come one that has been obviously altered.)

To illustrate the sense of helplessness human being felt in the midst of tragedy, a student could use a photo that reflects fear, weariness, or loss on the challenge of the photograph’s subject.


Illustrations, such together editorial or politics cartoons, serve much the same purpose as photographs. Since an illustration does not capture a moment in time the means a picture does, the may have actually less impact. However, depending on your topic and the effect you want to achieve, illustrations have the right to still be really useful. Use the very same criteria for selecting photographs to aid you choose illustrations.


The format of an illustration or photograph affects viewers just as the content does. Save this in mental if you room working through the share images obtainable in office software program programs. Countless of this images have actually a comical tone. This may be good for some topics—for instance, a presentation top top television reflects for children. However, if you have to project a an ext serious tone, make certain you pick images come suit the purpose. Many totally free (or fairly priced) image financial institutions are available online.

Video Footage

Even an ext than photographs, video footage can produce a feeling of immediacy, especially if your video clip includes sound. Mirroring a brief video clip can help your audience feel together if they are existing at crucial event, connect with a person being interviewed, or far better understand a process. Again, ask you yourself the complying with questions come ensure you room using the footage well:

What function does this video clip serve? (Never count on video clip clips just to fill time.) exactly how much footage need to be displayed to attain your purpose? What will need to be explained, prior to or after showing the video, come ensure the your audience understands that significance? will it be necessary to edit the video clip to stay within time needs or to emphasis on the most important parts?


Informational graphics, such as tables, charts, and graphs, execute not provoke the same response that images do. Nevertheless, this graphics deserve to have a powerful impact. Their primary purpose is to organize and simplify information.

Tables are efficient when you must classify information and organize it in categories. Tables are an especially an excellent choice once you room presenting qualitative dataData or statistics that room not strictly numerical. That are not strictly numerical. Table 14.1 "Example that Qualitative Data Table" was created for a presentation discussing the subprime mortgage crisis. It gift information around people who have held powerful positions both in the government and at one of the investment banking firms involved in the subprime mortgage market.

Table 14.1 example of Qualitative Data Table

name Role(s) in ~ Goldman Sachs Years energetic Government Role(s) Years active
Henry Paulson Chief operation officer 1994–98 US secretary the the treasury 2006–9
Chief executive, management officer 1998–2006
Robert Rubin Vice chairman and also co-chief operation officer 1987–90 Assistant to the president for financial policy and director, National financial Council 1993–95
Co-chairman and co-senior partner 1990–92 US secretary the the treasury 1995–99
Stephen Friedman Co-chief operating officer 1987–90 Assistant to the chairman for economic policy and director, National financial Council 2002–5
Co-chairman 1990–92
Chairman 1992–94


If you room working v numerical information, consider whether a pie chart, bar graph, or line graph could be an effective way to current the content. A table can aid you organize numerical information, however it is not the many effective method to emphasize contrasting data or to show alters over time.

Pie Charts

Pie charts are helpful for reflecting numerical information in percentages. Because that example, you deserve to use a pie graph to represent presidential election results by showing what percent of voter voted because that the democratic presidential candidate, the Republican candidate, and also candidates from other political parties.

Figure 14.5


Source: http://www.fec.gov/pubrec/fe2008/2008presgeresults.pdf

Bar Graphs

Bar graphs occupational well once you want to show similarities and also differences in number data. Horizontal or upright bars aid viewers to compare data from various groups, various time periods, and so forth. For instance, the bar graph in number 14.6 allows the viewer to compare data top top the five countries that have actually won the most Olympic medals because the modern-day games started in 1924: Norway, the joined States, the previous Soviet Union, Germany, and Austria. Bar graphs deserve to effectively show trends or trends in data as well.

Figure 14.6


Source: http://www.nbcolympics.com/medals/all-time-standings/index.html

Figure 14.7


Exercise 1

In this exercise, friend will begin to refine your principles for combine media into your presentation. Complete the following steps ~ above your own sheet of paper.

analyze the two different types of visual aids: images and also informational graphics. Determine at the very least two areas in her presentation wherein you might incorporate visual aids. Evaluate the function of the visual aid. Go it develop emotional impact, or does that organize information? Is the intuitive effective? recognize whether friend will be able to create the visual assist yourself or will need to uncover it.

Creating original Visual Aids

You will encompass original visual aids in your presentation to include interest, present complicated information or data an ext clearly, or very nice one to her audience’s emotions. You might wish to produce some visual aids through hand—for instance, by mounting photographs ~ above poster plank for display. An ext likely, however, friend will use computer-generated graphics.

Computer-generated visual aids are simple to develop once you learn exactly how to use details office software. They also offer greater versatility. You can print tough copies and display them large or include them in a handout for your audience. Or, if you are working v presentation software, you deserve to simply insert the graphic in your slides.

Regardless of just how you proceed, save the adhering to guidelines in mind:

Create intuitive aids through purpose. Think carefully around how they will enhance your message, and choose a form that is suitable for her content. Strive because that quality. You execute not need the an abilities of a experienced photographer or designer, however do take time come make sure your visual aids space neat, attractive, and legible. Proofread because that errors, too.

Using software program to produce Visual Aids

You can use standard office software application to create simple graphics easily. The following guidelines describe how to work-related with word-processing software and also presentation software.

Working through Photographs

Most personal computers come equipped with some straightforward image-editing software, and also many people select to purchase an ext advanced programs as well. You can upload photographs native a digital camera (or in some cases, a cell phone) or scan and also upload printed photographs. The images can then be edited and also incorporated right into your presentation. Be certain to save every one of your images in one folder for basic access.

Creating Tables

To develop a table in ~ a word-processing document consult your software application program’s help feature or an online tutorial. When you have developed the table, you deserve to edit and make any added changes. Be sure that the table has actually no much more than 6 to seven rows or columns due to the fact that you perform not desire to compromise the size of the message or the readability. Aligning through precision will assist your table look much less crowded. Also, the row and column titles need to spell out their contents.

Creating Graphs

Figure 14.8


Pie charts and bar and line graphs can additionally be developed using conventional office software. Although girlfriend can develop these graphics within a document, you will should work through both your word-processing application and your spreadsheet application to carry out so. The graph have to visually define the data using colors, titles, and labels. The use of shade will help the audience differentiate information; however, stop colors that are hard on the eyes, such together lime environment-friendly or hot pink. The title should plainly state what the graph explains. Lastly, stop using acronyms in the titles and other labels.

Creating graphic in an electronic Presentation

If you plan to job-related only with difficult copy graphics during your presentation, friend may pick to develop them together word-processing documents. However, if you are using presentation software, you will require to pick one the the adhering to options:

develop your graphics using the presentation software program. Develop your graphic within an additional program and import them.

Standard office presentation software enables you to develop informational graphics in lot the same means you would create them within a word-processing application. Keep the formatting palette, a food selection option that permits you to customize the graphic, open up while you usage the software. The formatting food selection provides choices for inserting other varieties of graphics, such as pictures and also video. You may insert pictures from photo bank accessible within the program, or insert pictures or video from her own desktop files. Form your use of multimedia in accordance with the post your presentation is trying to convey, the purpose, and your audience.

Creating visual Aids through Hand

Most the the time, utilizing computer-generated graphics is an ext efficient than producing them by hand. Using office software program programs helps give your graphics a sleek appearance while additionally teaching you an abilities that are helpful in a range of jobs. However, it may make feeling to usage hand-created visual aids in part cases—for instance, as soon as showing a 3-D design would be effective. If you follow this route, be sure to dedicate extra time to making certain your visual aids are neat, legible, and professional.

Flip charts are inexpensive and also quick visual aids used throughout face-to-face presentations. The upper and lower reversal chart can be all set before, and during, the presentation. Each sheet of paper should contain one theme, idea, or sketch and must be penned in large letters come be watched by audience members the furthest away native the speaker.

Writing Captions

Any media you incorporate should include a inscription or various other explanatory text. A captionA quick (one to 2 sentences) description or explanation of a intuitive image. Is a brief, one- come two-sentence summary or explanation the a visual image. Make certain your captions are clear, accurate, and also to the point. Use complete sentences when you write them.

Captions should always be provided with photographs, and in part cases, they can be useful for clarifying informational graphics, which represent qualitative data visually. However, informational graphics might not call for a subtitle if the title and also labels space sufficiently clear. For other visual media, together as video footage, offering explanatory text before or ~ the footage will suffice. The necessary thing is to make certain you constantly include some explanation the the media.

Exercise 2

In this exercise, you will begin to develop visual aids for your presentation. Complete the measures in this exercise—and reap the opportunity to be creative. Working v visuals deserve to be a pleasant means to take it a break from the demands of writing.

acquire creative! Take your photographs, build a 3-D model, produce informational graphics, or occupational on her presentation slides. Develop good working drafts. ~ you have actually completed draft of her visual aids, collection them aside because that a while. Climate revisit them through a critical eye. First, check any kind of text contained with the graphic. Make certain your facts room correct, her words space clear and also concise, and also your language is complimentary of errors. Next, evaluate exactly how well your aids occupational visually. Are they big enough to it is in seen and read native a distance? are captions and labels simple to find? are photographs of fairly high quality? Ask someone else for feedback, too. Begin making any kind of needed changes. Together you proceed through the remainder of this section, proceed to revisit your occupational to boost it as needed.


Please re-publishing the first version of your visual aids through a classmate. Examine what they have actually produced. ~ above a separate item of paper, keep in mind both the aspects that catch your attention and those that would advantage from clarification. Return and compare notes.

Testing and assessing Visual Aids

Regardless of just how you produce your visual aids, be certain to test-drive them before you provide your presentation. Edit and proofread them, and also if possible, display them to someone that can provide you objective feedback. Usage the adhering to checklist.

Checklist 14.1

Visual aid Evaluation Checklist

visual aids are plainly integrated v the content of the presentation Photographs and illustrations fit the in its entirety tone the the presentation Images and text are big and clear enough for the viewer to check out or read pictures are presented with explanatory message or a inscription Informational graphics include clear, easy-to-read labels and also headings text within informational graphic is basic to check out (Watch the end for wordiness and also crowded message or a font the is too tiny and hard to read.) Formatting choices (color, different fonts, etc.) organize info effectively any kind of text in ~ graphics is cost-free of errors Hyperlinks in ~ slides role properly display screen text for hyperlinks is concise and informative (Never paste a link into a on slide without modifying the display screen text.)

Writing in ~ Work

Office software includes many options for customizing a presentation. Because that instance, girlfriend can select or produce a theme and also color scheme, modify just how one slide transitions to the next, or even encompass sound effects. With so plenty of options, students and also employees sometimes get lugged away. The result can it seems to be ~ amateurish and detract from, rather than enhance, her presentation.

Remember, you room delivering a presentation, not creating a movie. Use the customization options to help give your presentations a consistent, polished, appearance. However, perform not let this special impacts detract from the substance of her slides.

Using Existing visual Media

Depending on her topic, friend may be able to find images and other graphic you can use rather of producing your own. For instance, you might use photographs indigenous a dependable news resource or informational graphics produced by a federal government agency. If you plan to use visual aids produced by others, save the following guidelines in mind:

Set a purpose before you start your search. You will search an ext efficiently if you start with a general idea of what you space looking for—a heat graph the unemployment rates for the previous twelve months, for example, or a video clip the the most recent State of the Union address. Filter the end visual aids that room not relevant. You may come throughout eye-catching graphics and also be tempted to usage them also if they are only loosely pertained to your topic, simply because they are attention getting. Stand up to the temptation. If the graphics is not plainly connected to your point, the does not belong in her presentation. Read carefully. In enhancement to analysis labels, headings, and also captions, read any text the accompanies the visual. Make certain you know the visual in its initial context. For informational graphics, make sure you understand specifically what details is being represented. (This may seem obvious, yet it is easy to misread graphics information. Take the time to study it carefully.) Evaluate resources carefully and record resource information. once you look for visual media to complement your presentation, you are conducting research. Use the very same standards you supplied for your research paper. Choose reliable sources, together as reliable news organizations, government and nonprofit organizations, and also educational institutions. Verify data in additional sources. Finally, be sure to record all resource information together you proceed.

Searching successfully for visual Media

You will probably find it most efficient to use the net to search for visual aids. Many students start by inputting keywords right into a search engine to locate related images. However, this search technique is no necessarily efficient, for several reasons:

A more efficient strategy is to identify a couple of sources that are most likely to have what you space looking for, and then find within those sites. For instance, if you require a table showing mean life span in various countries, girlfriend might begin with the website of the human being Health Organization. If you expect to find images associated to present events, news publications space an obvious choice. The Library of congress website has many media concerned American history, culture, and politics.

Searching this way has the adhering to advantages:

You will often discover what friend are trying to find faster due to the fact that you room not wasting time scrolling through numerous irrelevant results. If you have chosen your sources well, you can be reasonably particular that you are acquiring accurate, up-to-date information. Images and informational graphics produced by reputable sources are most likely to it is in high quality—easy to read and also well designed.

If you space unable to uncover what friend are looking for on the Internet think about using print sources of visual media. Friend may pick to mount these for display screen or scan them and incorporate the documents into an electronic presentation. (Scanning printed pages may lower the quality of the image. However, if friend are expert at making use of photo-editing software, friend may have the ability to improve the quality of the scanned image.)

Inserting Hyperlinks in an electronic Presentation

If you space working with images, audio, or video clip footage available online, you might wish come insert a attach within your presentation. Then, throughout your presentation, you have the right to simply click the connect to open the website in a separate home window and toggle between windows to go back to your presentation slides.

To insert a hyperlink within her presentation, click insert in the toolbar and also then choose hyperlink from the menu. Doing therefore will open up a dialogue box wherein you have the right to paste your link and also modify the accompanying screen text shown on her slide.

Checklist 14.2

Media Fair use Checklist

Writing in ~ Work

Crediting Sources

As you conduct your research, make sure you file sources as you proceed. Follow the guidelines when you download images, video, or other media indigenous the web or record media from various other sources. Store track of where you accessed the media and where you have the right to find added information about it. You might also provide a references web page at the end of the presentation to point out not just media and images but additionally the information in the text of her presentation. Watch Chapter 13 "APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting" for more information on developing a referral page.

Write captions or other explanatory text for visual media created by others, just as you would certainly for media girlfriend created. Doing for this reason helps save your audience informed. It also helps ensure that you are following fair use guidelines by presenting the media with your commentary, interpretation, or analysis. In your inscription or somewhere else in her presentation, note the resource of any media girlfriend did not produce yourself. You execute not need to carry out a full bibliographical citation, but do give credit whereby it is due.

Exercise 3

In this exercise, girlfriend will find visual aids developed by others and continue arising the job-related you started earlier. Complete these steps.

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use the search tips listed in this ar to locate at the very least two visual aids from reliable sources the you deserve to use. Prepare them for your presentation by including clarifying message as needed. Be sure to credit transaction your source.

Take some time now to review exactly how you will integrate the visual and also verbal materials of her presentation.

If you space working through presentation software, refine her slides. Make sure the visual technique is consistent and also suits your topic. Provide your text a last proofread.

Key Takeaways

intuitive aids space most reliable when they are favored with the purpose and audience in mind. They offer to include emotional affect to a presentation and also to organize information an ext clearly. Visual aids should always be clearly related come the presenter’s ideas. Captions, labels, and also other explanatory text aid make the link clear because that the audience. Favor writing, emerging the visual contents of a presentation is a process. It entails generating ideas, working through them in a breeze format, and also then revising and also editing one’s work. Visual aids can be split into two broad categories—image-based media and also informational graphics. Widely easily accessible software programs do it fairly easy to produce visual aids electronically, together as photo images, charts, and also graphs. Once using visual aids created by others, the is necessary to apply good research skills, monitor guidelines for fair use, and credit sources appropriately.