A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

I have heard this saying hundreds of times, but lately it is hitting home in a big way in the form of information graphics. What are they you ask? They are quick way to tell a story though the use of graphics and limited text. Like this fancy one from the Peace Corps lying out with Peace Corps Volunteers learn during their service, and how this makes them more marketable and desirable as an employee.

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Catchy, right? If I were looking at a possible Peace Corps stint, and I wanted to learn what folks gained, and had about 10.4 seconds to spare, this would give me just enough information to make me want more. That is the beauty of the information graphic; it brings the hook in a fun, easily digestible and engaging way. How did this happen? Many will point to internet and our ever shrinking attention span. This may be in part a reason, but the truth is we are actually hard wired to be more visual. Almost fifty percent of your brain is involved in visual processing. It takes 150 ms for a symbol to be processed and 100 ms to attach a meaning to it.

For example, on a dark winding road would you prefer this sign –

Winding_road

Or this text –

Please be aware that you will encounter sharp turns that may affect your ability to drive at your current speed.  Also be aware that weather conditions will impact the severity of said turns and your vehicles ability to remain safe.

Information graphics are not new of course as our little traffic experiment proves. They are however popping up in new places ever day.  Five years ago, the information shared by Peace Corps may have appeared as a report or a story about a Peace Corps Volunteers experience.

A recent study from the Wharton School of Business states that sixty seven percent of an audience was persuaded by verbal presentations that had accompanying visuals. Add this to the fact that we recall only ten percent of what we hear, twenty percent of what we read, and a whopping eight percent of what we see.

Here at Volunteer Maryland we are a bit text heavy, and that needs to change. We are looking at ways to tell our unique stories in a different way that catches the eye and then their attention. Will an information graphic blog post be in the near future? You bet! So if you have a good resource on how to create information graphics, or are willing to share yours it is much appreciated. Thank you for connecting with Volunteer Maryland. Talk to you soon.

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