Visual communication – preparation for class on 3/19

At our next meeting, we’ll focus on visual communication in science.

Last spring we had a terrific guest speaker who led a full-day workshop on visual communication; alas, we couldn’t get her back this year, but we can offer you Vaughn’s notes, Jessica’s reflections, and a reference to her book (UNH has a copy); some of the key points are also summarized in a brief handout that we’ll refer to during in-class activities on 3/19.

To prepare for our next meeting, please do the following:

1. Find two visual representations of some concept, data, or process that’s related to your work – from any source (web, figure from a paper, etc.). Try to find one you think is good, and one that isn’t.  Consider their strengths and weaknesses, especially with respect to the context in which they appear. Can you suggest modifications/improvements? Post on your blog the two images, and your comments.

2. Start thinking about a visual representation of some aspect of your own work, communicating data, ideas, or both.  This could be for a slide in a seminar talk, a figure in a paper, a web page, or some other purpose. Work up a preliminary sketch/version of your image, and bring 3 printed copies to our next class, where we’ll work on it together. If you have an image you’ve been using but want to improve, bring that.

This is an opportunity to develop a resource for yourself that you’ll use over and over: you might use one version in a paper, another for outreach, a third on a poster or web page, a fourth in a job talk, and yet another for a class lecture or a guest seminar. So choose something that’s central to your work, and develop an image that will be of lasting value in explaining what you do and why it matters.

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