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Visual Language being heard by being seen Ron Bergquist Introduction is “Who Gets Heard?” a function of who is listening? can we get heard by ensuring that people see what we are saying? Visual Language Uses oral presentations written communications signage

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visual language

Visual Language

being heard by being seen

Ron Bergquist

introduction
Introduction
  • is “Who Gets Heard?” a function of who is listening?
  • can we get heard by ensuring that people see what we are saying?
visual language uses
Visual Language Uses
  • oral presentations
  • written communications
  • signage
  • Human Computer Interaction design
  • transcultural communications
organization
Organization

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • Theoretical underpinnings
  • Theoretical underpinnings
  • Rhetoric of visual language and design
  • Cognate strategies
  • Visual Language Uses
  • Conclusions
theoretical underpinnings

Theoretical Underpinnings

the mind, the eye, and how we understand what we see

how the brain sees
How the brain sees

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • Vision - "a process that produces from images of the external world a description that is useful to the viewer and not cluttered with irrelevant information."
  • At best, ours is an abstract appreciation of our world.
    • we see
      • what's in front of us, not what's all around us
      • surface, not volume
      • in 2D, not 3D
    • we see in perspective
    • we don't see
      • discrete objects
      • rather we see surfaces and the boundaries between them
  • Recognition of shapes as things are limited. 
    • mental images are not complete, fragmentary parts of a complete image
    • we use conceptual knowledge of our world, not the characteristics of the image itself, to categorize mental images
    • images are ambiguous
constructing meaning for what it sees
Constructing meaning for what it sees

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • Rules for visual construction
    • One school of thought holds that we create a visual experience of objects that we see
    • in a phenomenal sense
  • Physical properties of the eye and the brain
    • modified through "rules"
    • construct what you can see
    • and restrict what you can construct
  • But what kind of “rules” are applied?
gestalt theory
Gestalt Theory

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • Gestalt Principles
    • proximity
    • similarity
    • continuity
    • symmetry
    • closure
    • relative size
    • figure & ground
gestalt proximity principle
Gestalt Proximity Principle

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • we tend to perceive things that are close together as being parts of a coherent group
  • the simplest and most powerful way to emphasize the relationship between objects is to place them in proximity
gestalt similarity principle
Gestalt Similarity Principle

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • we tend to group together those things that appear similar
    • size
    • shape
    • color
    • relative density of color
gestalt continuity principle
Gestalt Continuity Principle

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • we tend to group things together if they are in a smooth directional continuation
gestalt symmetry principle
Gestalt Symmetry Principle

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • we tend to see perceive symmetrical arrangements as more likely to be a coherent whole than parallel arrangements
gestalt closure principle
Gestalt Closure Principle

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • we tend to see a closed contour as an object
  • there is a perceptual tendency to close contours that have gaps in them
gestalt relative size principle
Gestalt Relative Size Principle

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • we tend to perceive similar components of a pattern as objects
  • we see the similarity in size and shape as indicating a relationship among objects that may not exist
gestalt figure ground principle
Gestalt Figure & Ground Principle

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • a fundamental perceptual act of perceiving objects
  • when confronted by several objects, we tend to see the figure that is perceived to be in the foreground
bottom up or top down understanding
Bottom-up or top-down understanding?

Arbitrary symbols

Semiology

bottom-up approach

builds on symbols (or signs) and how they convey meaning

signs have no intrinsic meaning

become signs only when we invest them with meaning.

anything can be a sign as long as someone interprets it as referring to something other than itself.

Jacques Bertin

Semiology of Graphics

Sensory symbols

Affordances

top-down approach

builds on perceiving possibilities for action in the affordances we perceive through our sense of sight.

J.J. Gibson

The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • We seem as a species to be driven by a desire to make meanings
  • above all, we are surely Homo significans - meaning-makers
organization17
Organization

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • Theoretical underpinnings
  • Rhetoric of visual language and design
  • Cognate strategies
  • Visual Language Uses
  • Conclusions
  • Rhetoric of visual language and design
rhetoric of visual language and design

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

Rhetoric of visual language and design

rhetorical situation

functional semantics of rhetoric

functional semantics of content

the rhetorical situation
The Rhetorical Situation

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • Audience
    • think of them as users
    • who are they; what do they know already
  • Purpose
    • think of it as your goal
    • what should this communication accomplish
  • Context
    • the communications environment
    • where and how will the users receive the communication
functional semantics of rhetoric
Functional Semantics of Rhetoric

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • guide readers through document
  • focus attention
  • cluster visual & verbal elements
  • organize overall page (or screen) design show context of concepts
  • increase impact
  • manipulate & operate
guide readers though a document
guide readers though a document

Heading 1

Heading 1

Heading 2

Heading 1

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • show or tell the reader how the document is organized
  • provide landmarks for maintaining orientation to the subject
    • arrows & icons
    • repetitive visual clues
    • schematic diagrams
focus attention
focus attention

Eickhoff, Jürgen, “The German Language in America,”

Have you heard this one?

During revolutionary days (or immediately thereafter), a convention was held in the Colonies for the purpose of deciding what our national language would be. English and German were the most popular choices and, when the matter came to a vote, English won – but only by a single vote. Ironically, the deciding vote was cast by a German, who is regarded in some German circles as a Benedict Arnold.

The story is widespread in Germany and seems to be ineradicable in spite of media efforts to set the record straight. But like all legends, this one is based on actual events. In 1794, upon a petition submitted by German-speaking citizens of Virginia, two congressional committees discussed the possibility of printing an official German version of Union laws in addition to the English version. A year later, the petition was denied by the full Congress. There is some evidence that the Speaker of the House, a German-American by the name of Frederick A. Muhlenberg, cast the decisive vote. This seems to have been the origin of what among scholars is now known as the Muhlenberg legend.

Have you heard this one?

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • show the reader that different areas of the page should be given special kinds of attention
    • prose focusers
    • arrows
    • abstract symbols
    • abstract shapes
    • highlighters
cluster visual verbal elements
cluster visual & verbal elements

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • show which elements belong together
  • or are connected in some way
  • clustering based on Gestalt principles
    • tables, matrices
    • proximity groupings
    • linear linking devices
    • divisions, mergings
    • complex linking networks
    • circular, radiating diagrams
    • unique shapes
organize overall page or screen design
organize overall page (or screen) design

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • show the user how the page (or screen) is organized
    • visual shapes, shading, white/gray space
    • titles, headings, subheadings
    • grids
    • specific clustering devices
show context of concepts
show context of concepts

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • orient the user
  • “map” the document/screen to the communication environment
increase impact
increase impact

visual techniques to emphasize aspects of the message

abstract or 3-D shapes

contrast

frame

detail

sharpness

size

shape

white space

front

motion

arrows

shadows

perspective

silhouettes

human figures

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

increase impact location
increase impact (location)

1

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • upper left
    • in Western cultures, all other things being equal, the upper left calls attention to whatever is there
  • central
    • center of visual focus
  • combinations
    • any cluster of the previous set of techniques will attract attention
manipulate operate
manipulate & operate

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • show the user how to make something happen
    • navigation
    • point of view
    • subject matter
    • outside environment
functional semantics of content
Functional Semantics of Content

show who

show what (appearance)

show what’s inside

show where

show when

show how it works

show how to do it

show motion

show which (name, label, & indicate)

show which (definitions)

show examples

show what can’t be seen

show comparisons

show quantitative comparisons

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

show who
show who

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • show the persons involved
  • identity, appearance, emotions, attitudes, etc.
    • verbal descriptions can augment, but not supplant, the value of an image
show what
show what

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • identifies
  • portrays
  • describes the appearance of physical objects
    • points of view
    • parts
    • background or context
show what s inside
show what’s inside

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • visible and invisible interiors of objects
    • allows a more complete understanding of complex constructed or natural phenomena
    • “see” what cannot be seen
show where
show where

you are here

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • locations of things in space
    • maps
    • diagrams
    • schematics

this is home

show when
show when

Start

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Theory

Saturday

Sunday

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • general or specific time
  • as duration
  • as instantaneous events
    • clocks
    • calendars
    • natural event icons
    • weather images
    • abstract graphic representations
    • time metaphors
show how it works
show how it works

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • how a machine or human-made system works
  • how a natural system or process works
    • process diagrams
show how to do it
show how to do it

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • step through a specific task
    • user manuals
show motion
show motion

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • tell about the change in location of physical objects
    • lines to indicate paths of motion
    • origination, destination, environment, and direction of movement
    • positions of movement
    • natural phenomena in motion
    • distortions of natural motion
    • distortions in shape
    • metaphorical uses
show which name label indicate
show which (name, label, & indicate)

A

A. Lucas Headlamp

Start

indirect labeling

Theory

Knock Off Hubs

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • indicates distinctions and conventional names for these distinctions
    • direct labeling

A

show which definitions
show which (definitions)

A Tort is …

one or more of the following

battery

or

false imprisonment

or

malicious prosecution

or

defamation

and either or both

malicious intent

and/or

negligence

and

causal nexus

and either or both

consent

or

reasonable risk

or

breach of contract

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • use of words to define abstract ideas that cannot be pictured
    • visual ordering of a complicated definition
show examples
show examples

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • instances of a general category or idea
    • incorporate users into the scene
    • put them into their mental model
show what can t be seen
show what can’t be seen

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • display forces, relationships, & other influences that cannot be perceived with the eye in nature
    • represent the invisible with line, shape, & simulated movement
show comparisons
show comparisons

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • how things are different and/or similar
    • visual spreadsheets
show quantitative comparisons
show quantitative comparisons

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • examine & compare amounts, trends, proportions, etc.
    • compare relative amounts
    • compare rank
    • compare items within ranges
    • compare changes over time
    • compare patterns of relationships between two or more variables
organization44
Organization

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • Theoretical underpinnings
  • Rhetoric of visual language and design
  • Cognate strategies
  • Visual Language Uses
  • Conclusions
  • Cognate strategies
cognate strategies

Cognate strategies

things to consider to make the design work

visual verbal cognates
Visual-Verbal Cognates

Arrangement

Emphasis

Clarity

Conciseness

Tone

Ethos

visual structure and organization

functional matters of style

readibility

users’ subjective responses to the visual signals

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

arrangement
Arrangement

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

emphasis
Emphasis

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

clarity
Clarity

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

conciseness
Conciseness

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

slide51
Tone

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

ethos
Ethos

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

organization53
Organization

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • Theoretical underpinnings
  • Rhetoric of visual language and design
  • Cognate strategies
  • Visual Language Uses
  • Conclusions
  • Visual Language Uses
visual language uses54

Visual Language Uses

some ways to use it and some places it can be effective

visual language communication units
Visual Language Communication Units

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • icon/VLicon elements
  • concept diagram
  • information graphic
  • information mural
icon vlicon elements
icon/Vlicon elements

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • usually a simple graphic
    • containing 1-2 words to clarify visual elements
  • generally small
    • less than one inch square
  • purpose
    • focus attention
    • identify function
    • discriminate among like items
    • provide commentary
    • set a mood
concept diagram
concept diagram

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • simple to moderately complicated graphic
    • with 1-2 sentences accompaniment
  • contextual, not standalone
  • roughly a quarter to half a page in size
  • purpose
    • optimum thought chunks
    • example for generalization
    • disambiguates complex information
    • represents passage of time, multiple points of view

!

!

!

!

!

!

!

!

!

!

!

information graphic
information graphic

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • large
    • complex central visual element
    • or group of elements
  • can stand alone
  • purpose
    • communicates an an overview level while preserving access to detail
    • large enough to represent all but the most complex subjects
information mural
information mural

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • includes one or more infographics
  • recognizable formats
    • landscapes
    • process diagrams
    • timelines
  • wall sized
  • purpose
    • for group use
    • illuminates subjects with greater degree of complexity
    • size permits more complex treatment
displaying problem analysis
Displaying problem analysis

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • why?
    • to overcome multiple points of view
    • to see physical data and relationships simultaneously
  • what works?
    • cluster diagrams
      • based on Gestalt principles
      • represent abstract relationships between elements
    • area diagrams
      • relative displays of size and locale
    • matrices
      • tabular syntax for side by side comparison
    • network diagrams
      • branching syntax for logical connections
      • portrayal of choices or alternative scenarios
art of integrating vis displays and text
art of integrating vis displays and text

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • James J. Garrett's diagram, Elements of User Experience, 2000, illustrates the place for visual language.  From conception to completion, from abstract to concrete, the final thing that any user sees is the visualization and the design of the visual presentation needs to accord with some basic principles.
  • Edward Tufte is an additional exemplar of how data may be displayed with insight and elegance
organization62
Organization

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • Theoretical underpinnings
  • Rhetoric of visual language and design
  • Cognate strategies
  • Visual Language Uses
  • Conclusions
  • Conclusions
results of wharton school study
Results of Wharton School Study

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • aids decision making
    • group shown visual language made immediate decision 64% of time
    • control grouped lagged in making decision
  • makes a better impression
    • visual language presenters perceived as more effective, clearer, interesting, professional
  • shortens meetings
    • meeting time reduced 24%
  • promotes group consensus
    • visual language group agreed 79% of time
    • control group agreed 58% of time
  • persuasive
    • verbal plus visual convinced audience 67% of time
    • verbal only convinced audience 50% of time
gallery of data visualization
Gallery of Data Visualization

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • Michael Friendly at York University in the UK provides a Gallery of Data Visualization with good and bad examples. The Bright Ideas section displays various ways to display data, in both map and non-spatial graphical formats.  His Visual Delights section provides further links to imaginative non-statistical visualization applications.
cybergeography
Cybergeography

Start

Theory

Strategies

Rhetoric

Uses

Conclusions

  • The Cybergeography project at University College, London provides a visual atlas of maps and graphic representations of the geographies of spaces on the Internet. Some of the maps on display look like maps and use standard cartographic techniques, but others venture into new concepts for visualizing space and concepts.  
  • an archive of concept maps may be found at both http://mappa.mundi.net/maps/ and at http://www.cybergeography.org/maps/index.html. A more commercial venture along the same lines can be found at http://www.peacockmaps.com.
  • Internet Mapping Project at Bell Labs is a long-term effort to understand how traffic flows on the Internet. They convert data into a tree structure showing the paths to most of the nets on the Internet. One application of this form of visualization shows how NATO's 1999 bombing of Serbia steadily affected the Serbian telecommunications capability.
conclusions

Conclusions

visual language is effective