People like visual stuff, right? Photos that accompany their newspaper and magazine articles, graphs and graphics that demonstrate and visualize some of the content of a report, pictures that support and augment a story: there’s no question that visual components help us understand the world around us. So it shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that visuals really *do* help us learn. Consider this: does a graphic description help you get the idea of something more quickly than text? It probably does. Here’s an example.
I’m willing to bet you knew within a fraction of a second what a circle was just by looking at the graphic representation. But if you didn’t see that and just had to read the text, you’d need to think about it for a second.
The graphic below outlines some fun statistics on how the brain processes graphics vs text, and offers some do-s and don’t-s for using visuals that apply whether you’re working on a school project, work project, website, or something else. Check it out to learn more!
How Visuals Help Us Learn
- 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual
- The brain can process 36,000 visual cues in an hour
- The brain takes about 1/10th of a second to get the idea of a visual scene
- Almost 50% of your brain is involved in visual processing
- Black and white images garner your attention for about 2/3 of a second
- Color images garner your attention for 2+ seconds
- The average consumer’s attention span is only about 8 seconds
- The brain processes visual cues 60,000 times faster than text
- 40% of nerve fibers are linked to the retina
- The use of visuals improves learning outcomes by about 400%
Do-s and Don’t-s for Visual Use
- Use visuals to help clarify complex ideas
- Use visuals that represent people, places, and things
- Use catchy visuals
- Use visuals that help viewers make connections and understand new information
- Use visuals that help viewers relate new information to what they already know
- Use poor quality visuals, like things that are pixelated, stretched weird, sized improperly, or don’t fit in the space
- Use ugly visuals
- Use visuals that don’t make a clear connection to the material presented
- Use irrelevant visuals, like a series of shapes that have no meaning
- Use copyrighted visuals without permission!