Spectrum of Visual Communication

Seven Visual Tools

1. Text

2. PowerPoint

3. Flipcharts

4. Post-it Notes

5. Mindmapping

6. Templates

7. Graphic Facilitation

Comparing Visual Tools
Here are some of the pluses (+) and negatives (-) of the various visual tools:

+ Specific meaning
+ Familiar medium
– Promotes linear thinking
– Requires lots of text to describe complex situations
– Requires time to reach consensus on “text”
– Contributes to information overload

+ Integrates text, photos, models, animation, audio and video
+ Projection allows viewing in large meetings
+ Accessible
– One way communication; not collaborative
– Encourages reading off slides

+ Mobile medium for sharing
+ Encourages drawing
+ Larger Scale
– List-heavy
– Illegibility

Post It Notes
+ Affordable and accessible
+ Captures individual ideas
+ High potential for spatial organizations in lists, clusters, etc.
+ Captures individual ideas
+ Less pressure to draw
– Difficult to photograph/archive

Templates or Models (Graphic Organizer)
+ Framework to work within
+ Shared language
+ Can revisit
– Poor matching of template/model to issue is problematic
– Fill-in-the-box mentality can lead to less complex thinking

+ Easy to learn
+ Spatial adaptation of linear outline form
+ Built in hierarchical
– Hub and spoke shape may not be suitable for all issues

Graphic Facilitation
+ One person dedicated to synthesizing group discussion
+ Real-time capture
+ Diagram and model complex ideas
+ Very large scale
– Not suitable for quick conversations

Spectrum of Visual Communication Online Worksheet

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