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Creating Effective Poster Presentations
Creating Effective Poster Presentations
Creating Effective Poster Presentations
Creating Effective Poster Presentations
An Effective Poster Is a Visual Communications Tool
An Effective Poster Is a Visual Communications Tool
An Effective Poster Operates on Multiple Levels
An Effective Poster Operates on Multiple Levels
Many Ineffective Posters Suffer From Easy-to-fix Problems, Including
Many Ineffective Posters Suffer From Easy-to-fix Problems, Including
All Visuals and Text Should Relate to a Succinctly Stated Message
All Visuals and Text Should Relate to a Succinctly Stated Message
Cont
Cont
Example
Example
Define Your Message: Consider the Alternatives
Define Your Message: Consider the Alternatives
... not this
... not this
Know Your Audience(s)
Know Your Audience(s)
Know Your Audience(s) Cont
Know Your Audience(s) Cont
Consider the Alternatives
Consider the Alternatives
Consider the Alternatives
Consider the Alternatives
Requirements No special efforts are required to attract them
Requirements No special efforts are required to attract them
An Effective Abstract Is Your First Opportunity to Hone Your Message
An Effective Abstract Is Your First Opportunity to Hone Your Message
Creating Effective Posters Requires Planning, Art, Science, and
Creating Effective Posters Requires Planning, Art, Science, and
Headings Use headings to orient readers and convey major points
Headings Use headings to orient readers and convey major points
Planning
Planning
Planning Cont
Planning Cont
Planning Cont
Planning Cont
Planning Cont
Planning Cont
Suggested Schedule
Suggested Schedule
Focus
Focus
Focus Cont
Focus Cont
Focus: Consider the Alternatives
Focus: Consider the Alternatives
... not this Emphasize methods rather than the main message
... not this Emphasize methods rather than the main message
Layout
Layout
Layout Cont
Layout Cont
Visual Grammar
Visual Grammar
Consider the Alternatives
Consider the Alternatives
... not this Use a text-heavy, publication-style format
... not this Use a text-heavy, publication-style format
Columnar Format
Columnar Format
Consider the Alternatives
Consider the Alternatives
... not this Use a row-oriented layout
... not this Use a row-oriented layout
Use Organizational Cues
Use Organizational Cues
Consider the Alternatives
Consider the Alternatives
... not this Let viewers guess the sequence
... not this Let viewers guess the sequence
Reader Gravity
Reader Gravity
Balance and White Space
Balance and White Space
Horizontal Symmetry Diagonal Symmetry
Horizontal Symmetry Diagonal Symmetry
Headings
Headings
Headings Cont
Headings Cont
Creating Effective Poster Presentations
Creating Effective Poster Presentations
Creating Effective Poster Presentations
Creating Effective Poster Presentations
Graphics
Graphics
Avoid 3-dimensional graphs unless you're displaying 3-dimensional data
Avoid 3-dimensional graphs unless you're displaying 3-dimensional data
No!
No!
Here's a very simple example showing the relationship between two
Here's a very simple example showing the relationship between two
There's a Lot of Ink Here That Doesn't Convey Information Relevant to
There's a Lot of Ink Here That Doesn't Convey Information Relevant to
It's Easy to Make a Graph That Looks Cleaner and Has a Higher Ratio of
It's Easy to Make a Graph That Looks Cleaner and Has a Higher Ratio of
Text
Text
Text Cont
Text Cont
Minimize Text and Make It Large
Minimize Text and Make It Large
Consider the Alternatives
Consider the Alternatives
... not this Make text convoluted, impenetrable, and small enough that
... not this Make text convoluted, impenetrable, and small enough that
Colours
Colours
Colours Cont
Colours Cont
Colours Cont
Colours Cont
Editing
Editing
Editing Cont
Editing Cont
60-second Poster Evaluation
60-second Poster Evaluation
White Space 0 Very little
White Space 0 Very little
1 Balanced
1 Balanced
Organization and Flow 0 Cannot figure out how to move through poster
Organization and Flow 0 Cannot figure out how to move through poster
Research Objective 0 Can't find
Research Objective 0 Can't find
Software
Software
Software Cont
Software Cont
Present Your Poster
Present Your Poster
Present Your Poster Cont
Present Your Poster Cont
Present Your Poster Cont
Present Your Poster Cont
Present Your Poster Cont
Present Your Poster Cont
your objective and what you did (Objective & Methods), what you
your objective and what you did (Objective & Methods), what you
Consider the Alternatives
Consider the Alternatives
Consider the Alternatives Cont
Consider the Alternatives Cont
Creating Effective Poster Presentations
Creating Effective Poster Presentations
Consider the Alternatives Cont
Consider the Alternatives Cont
Consider the Alternatives Cont
Consider the Alternatives Cont
Creating Effective Poster Presentations
Creating Effective Poster Presentations

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4 1 1

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1 Creating Effective Poster Presentations
2 Creating Effective Poster Presentations

Creating Effective Poster Presentations

An Effective Poster

3 An Effective Poster Is a Visual Communications Tool

An Effective Poster Is a Visual Communications Tool

An effective poster is ... Focused on a single message. Lets graphs and images tell the story; uses text sparingly. Keeps the sequence well-ordered and obvious.

An effective poster will help you ... ... engage colleagues in conversation. ... get your main point across to as many people as possible.

Focused

Graphic

Ordered

4 An Effective Poster Operates on Multiple Levels

An Effective Poster Operates on Multiple Levels

..

source of information conversation starter advertisement of your work summary of your work An effective poster is not just a standard research paper stuck to a board. A poster uses a different, visual grammar. It shows, not tells.

5 Many Ineffective Posters Suffer From Easy-to-fix Problems, Including

Many Ineffective Posters Suffer From Easy-to-fix Problems, Including

..

objective(s) and main point(s) hard to find text too small poor graphics poor organization

6 All Visuals and Text Should Relate to a Succinctly Stated Message

All Visuals and Text Should Relate to a Succinctly Stated Message

Your goal is to convey a clear message and support it with a compelling combination of images and short blocks of text. Know your message! What is the one thing you want your audience to learn? Focus on your message throughout the poster. If it doesn't reinforce your message, leave it out!!

7 Cont

Cont

Be bold & be explicit. If you have an interesting result, state it explicitly in the title. The Effect of X on Y Substance X Induces Y-cells Make the strongest statements your data will support. Why soft-peddle exciting findings? Rather than merely repeating the results, state your interpretations in the conclusion section.

8 Example

Example

Note how the poster title and the titles of the graphs provide key messages.

9 Define Your Message: Consider the Alternatives

Define Your Message: Consider the Alternatives

Do this ... Be bold and be explicit!

10 ... not this

... not this

!! Hedge wherever you can.

11 Know Your Audience(s)

Know Your Audience(s)

You should make your message accessible to a diverse audience. There are three categories of readers in most audiences (Woolsey 1989). People in ... your field of specialization fields closely related to yours unrelated fields To satisfy them all, you should ...

12 Know Your Audience(s) Cont

Know Your Audience(s) Cont

Provide context for your work. Explain the big picture and why the problem is important. Use plain language to present your work. Avoid jargon and acronyms unless you're really positive that yours will be a specialist-only audience. Interpret your findings so that readers in all categories can understand how your work helps solve the problem you've described.

13 Consider the Alternatives

Consider the Alternatives

Do this ... Design for all three audience categories.

14 Consider the Alternatives

Consider the Alternatives

... not this Design only for specialists in your field.

15 Requirements No special efforts are required to attract them

Requirements No special efforts are required to attract them

They will read whatever you present, no matter how well or poorly you present it. They will require that you supply context for your work. They are likely to be unfamiliar with your jargon. They require you to explain the problem and the solution. They will not understand your jargon.

Audience Category People in your field of specialization, including your competitors. People in fields closely related to yours are worth capturing, because they can have interesting insights and perspectives about your work. People in unrelated fields can be attracted by an accessible message, and provide valuable insights and links to distant fields

16 An Effective Abstract Is Your First Opportunity to Hone Your Message

An Effective Abstract Is Your First Opportunity to Hone Your Message

An abstract is a succinct description of your work. It should ... Explain why your work is important - set the context and pre-empt the question "So what?" Describe the objective(s) of your work. What are you adding to current knowledge? Briefly explain the methods. Unless the research is about methods, this should not be a major focus of your abstract (or your poster). Succinctly state results, conclusions, and recommendations. This is what most people want to know. Do not say "We present the results of our study and recommendations for action" - tell them what you found and recommend!

17 Creating Effective Posters Requires Planning, Art, Science, and

Creating Effective Posters Requires Planning, Art, Science, and

Attention to Detail.

Each of the following aspects of poster creation is considered in detail ... Planning Before starting work on your poster, consider message, space, budget, format (single sheet or multi-panel), and deadlines. Focus Stay focused on your message and keep it simple. Create a mock-up and dispense with unneeded details. Layout Use a clearly defined visual grammar to move readers through your poster.

18 Headings Use headings to orient readers and convey major points

Headings Use headings to orient readers and convey major points

Graphics Clear graphics should dominate your poster. Text Text should be minimized in favour of graphics, and large where used. Colours Colours can make a poster attractive and improve readability, but be cautious. Editing Edit ruthlessly to reduce the amount of text and focus on a results-oriented message. Software There are many packages you can use to create your poster.

19 Planning

Planning

Creating an effective poster requires time and planning. What's my message? Everything you put on your poster relates to a carefully crafted message. You must be able to state your main point(s) and conclusion(s) clearly and succinctly. All visuals and text should relate to those points and conclusions.

20 Planning Cont

Planning Cont

How much room do I have? Determine specific size requirements - visit conference web site or otherwise consult with conference organizers. Area available determines, in part, ... what you can fit, what you'll have to leave out, layout (landscape vs. portrait orientation), and how things will be organized.

21 Planning Cont

Planning Cont

How much money do I have? Your budget will determine, in part, whether you will ... plot your poster or print it on standard sheets of paper. use glossy or draft quality paper. use cardboard or foam core for mounting (if printing on standard sheets of paper). create the poster yourself or contract it out.

22 Planning Cont

Planning Cont

What milestones should I establish? Especially important if the poster is multi-authored. Start with the due date and work back to create milestones. Allow time for peer review and heavy editing.

23 Suggested Schedule

Suggested Schedule

When What 0 Present poster -1 week Final print -1 week Make changes suggested by peers -1 week Distribute draft for peer review (round 2) -2 weeks Make changes suggested by peers -2 weeks Distribute draft for peer review (round 1) -3 weeks Edit your draft ruthlessly -3 weeks Create first draft of poster -4 weeks Plan out poster on scratch paper -4 weeks Define message and write an abstract (if you haven't already done so)

24 Focus

Focus

Stay focused on your message. And keep it simple!! Simple messages are more memorable. Details detract from the main point, and can be supplied in person as needed.

25 Focus Cont

Focus Cont

Create a mock-up poster focused on your main message. Ask yourself which details are absolutely essential for conveying your message. The most common problem is too much focus on methods. [ An exception is if your poster is about a new method. ] Omit anything that is not essential. Edit text carefully - simplify verbiage, reduce sentence complexity.

26 Focus: Consider the Alternatives

Focus: Consider the Alternatives

Do this ... Edit ruthlessly! Simplify. Supply details in person, and only as needed.

27 ... not this Emphasize methods rather than the main message

... not this Emphasize methods rather than the main message

28 Layout

Layout

A clear visual grammar guides readers through your poster. Your poster should ... use a visual grammar to guide readers to the important parts of your poster. use a column format to make your poster easier to read in a crowd. use organization cues to guide readers through your poster.

29 Layout Cont

Layout Cont

use "reader gravity" which pulls the eye from top to bottom and left to right (Wheildon 1995). use headings intelligently to help readers find your main points and key information. balance the placement of text and graphics to create visual appeal. use white space creatively to help define the flow of information.

30 Visual Grammar

Visual Grammar

Visual grammar is a graphic hierarchy that helps readers identify the most important parts of your poster.

31 Consider the Alternatives

Consider the Alternatives

Do this ... Use a graphic hierarchy that visually reflects the relative importance of elements.

32 ... not this Use a text-heavy, publication-style format

... not this Use a text-heavy, publication-style format

33 Columnar Format

Columnar Format

Organize your poster in columns so that it's easy to read when there's a crowd in front of it.

34 Consider the Alternatives

Consider the Alternatives

Do this ... Use a columnar format. It allows readers to read the entire poster as they proceed from left to right.

35 ... not this Use a row-oriented layout

... not this Use a row-oriented layout

This format moves readers past your poster very quickly.

36 Use Organizational Cues

Use Organizational Cues

Another way to make sure readers know how to navigate your poster is to use cues - numbers, letters, arrows - to guide them.

37 Consider the Alternatives

Consider the Alternatives

Do this ... Supply cues to help viewers follow your presentation.

38 ... not this Let viewers guess the sequence

... not this Let viewers guess the sequence

39 Reader Gravity

Reader Gravity

There are language-specific ways in which most people read. In English, it is top-to-bottom and left-to-right. Wheildon (1995) called this "reader gravity." You should not use organizational constructs that defy reader gravity - it will confuse viewers, which is not what you want to happen.

40 Balance and White Space

Balance and White Space

Your poster should have a good visual balance of figures and text, separated by white space. Balance occurs when images and text are reflected (at least approximately) across a central horizontal, vertical, or diagonal axis. This axis is know as the axis of symmetry.

41 Horizontal Symmetry Diagonal Symmetry

Horizontal Symmetry Diagonal Symmetry

Horizontal & Vertical Symmetry Asymmetry (text-heavy on left, image-heavy on right)

42 Headings

Headings

Use headings to orient readers and convey major points. Headings - including the title, section titles, and figure captions - should ... Summarize Use headings as opportunities to summarize your work in large letters. A hurried reader should be able to get the main points from the headings alone.

43 Headings Cont

Headings Cont

Organize Good headings are part of the visual grammar that helps move readers through your poster. Be Hierarchical The more important the point, the larger the type. Be Bold Make the strongest statements your research allows.

44 Creating Effective Poster Presentations
45 Creating Effective Poster Presentations
46 Graphics

Graphics

Simple, clean graphics communicate relationships quickly. Good graphics - graphs, illustrations, photos - are the centrepiece of your poster. Good graphs communicate relationships quickly. Graphs should be Simple and clean. Write explanations directly on figures, instead of referencing from elsewhere. Use simple 2-dimensional line graphs, bar charts, pie charts.

47 Avoid 3-dimensional graphs unless you're displaying 3-dimensional data

Avoid 3-dimensional graphs unless you're displaying 3-dimensional data

- and then proceed carefully, as many 3-D graphs are difficult to interpret. Text on graphs must follow same guidelines as all other text so that it will be visible. Use photos that help deliver your message. Use spot art - but not too much - to attract attention.

48 No!

No!

Better!

49 Here's a very simple example showing the relationship between two

Here's a very simple example showing the relationship between two

populations through time. The main point to be made is that the lynx (predator) and hare (prey) populations oscillate through time in a somewhat predictable manner. [ This is a classic example of predator-prey oscillations from the ecology literature, and has been interpreted as evidence of the regulation of prey populations by predators. ] Straight out of Excel, here's what you get:

50 There's a Lot of Ink Here That Doesn't Convey Information Relevant to

There's a Lot of Ink Here That Doesn't Convey Information Relevant to

the Main Point You're Trying to Make. Plus It's Ugly.

51 It's Easy to Make a Graph That Looks Cleaner and Has a Higher Ratio of

It's Easy to Make a Graph That Looks Cleaner and Has a Higher Ratio of

Information-to-total Ink:

Without all the distractions, the relationship comes through loud and clear.

52 Text

Text

Text should be simple, direct, and large Posters are a visual medium. Minimize text - use images and graphs instead. Keep text elements to 50 words or fewer. Use phrases rather than full sentences. Use an active voice. Avoid jargon (depends somewhat on the audience).

53 Text Cont

Text Cont

Left-justify text; avoid centring and right-justifying text. Use a serif font (e.g., Times) for most text - easier to read. Sans-serif font (e.g., Helvetica) OK for titles and headings Text should be at least 24 point in text, 36 for headings. Pay attention to text size in figures - it must also be large. Title should be at least 5cm tall.

54 Minimize Text and Make It Large

Minimize Text and Make It Large

55 Consider the Alternatives

Consider the Alternatives

Do this ... Make text simple, direct, and large enough to read so that your message comes through loud and clear!

56 ... not this Make text convoluted, impenetrable, and small enough that

... not this Make text convoluted, impenetrable, and small enough that

viewers will go away.

57 Colours

Colours

Use colour to attract attention, organize, and emphasize - but don't overdo it. Use a light colour background and dark colour letters for contrast. Avoid dark backgrounds with light letters - very tiring to read. Stick to a theme of 2 or 3 colours - much more will overload and confuse viewers.

58 Colours Cont

Colours Cont

If you use multiple colours, use them in a consistent pattern - otherwise viewers will spend their time wondering what the pattern is rather than reading your poster. Overly bright colours will attract attention - and then wear out readers' eyes. Consider people who have problems differentiating colours, especially when designing graphics - one of the most common is an inability to tell green from red.

59 Colours Cont

Colours Cont

Consider people who have problems differentiating colours, especially when designing graphics - one of the most common is an inability to tell green from red. Strawberries as they appear to a person Strawberries as they appear to a person with full-colour vision who cannot tell red from green NOTE: need a simple list of safe colour combinations to use, or combinations to avoid. . .

60 Editing

Editing

If it doesn't provide critical support for your main message, ELIMINATE IT! Edit! Edit! Edit ruthlessly! to reduce text. Edit all text to simplify verbiage, to reduce sentence complexity, and to delete details. If it's not relevant to your message, remove it! Have colleagues comment on drafts. Print a small version and circulate for comment, or hang a full-size draft with pens and invite them to critique.

61 Editing Cont

Editing Cont

Evaluate your work - try the 60-second evaluation. Are your objective and main message obvious? Will readers be able to contact you?

62 60-second Poster Evaluation

60-second Poster Evaluation

Rating Criteria - Circle rating that applies. Overall Appearance 0 Cluttered or sloppy appearance. Gives the impression of a solid mass of text and graphics, or pieces are scattered and disconnected. Little white space. 1 Pleasant to look at. Pleasing use of colours, text, and graphics. 2 Very pleasing to look at. Particularly nice colours and graphics.

63 White Space 0 Very little

White Space 0 Very little

Gives the impression of a solid mass of text and graphics. 1 OK. Sections of the poster are separated from one another. 2 Lots. Plenty of room to rest the eyes. Lots of separation. Text / Graphics Balance 0 Too much text. The poster gives an overwhelming impression of text only. OR Not enough text. Cannot understand what the graphics are supposed to relate.

64 1 Balanced

1 Balanced

Text and graphics are evenly dispersed in the poster. There seems to be enough text to explain the graphics. Text Size 0 Too small to view comfortably from a distance of 1-1.5 meters. 0.5 Main text OK, but text in figures too small. 1 Easy to read from 1-1.5 meters. 2 Very easy to read.

65 Organization and Flow 0 Cannot figure out how to move through poster

Organization and Flow 0 Cannot figure out how to move through poster

1 Implicit. Headings (Introduction, Methods, etc) or other device implies organization and flow. 2 Explicit numbering, column bars, row bars, etc. Author Identification 0 None. 1 Partial. Not enough information to contact author without further research. This includes missing zip codes on addresses. 2 Complete. Enough information to contact author by mail, phone, or e-mail without further research.

66 Research Objective 0 Can't find

Research Objective 0 Can't find

1 Present, but not explicit. Buried at end of "Introduction", "Background", etc. 2 Explicit. This includes headings of "Objectives", "Aims", "Goals", etc. Main Points 0 Can't find. 1 Present, but not obvious. May be imbedded in monolithic blocks of text. 2 Explicitly labelled (e.g., "Main Points", "Conclusions", "Results"). Summary 0 Absent. 1 "Summary", "Results", or "Conclusions" section present.

67 Software

Software

There are many software options for creating your poster. MicroSoft PowerPoint is a relatively easy-to-use tool for creating posters see instructions. One benefit of PowerPoint is that many people already know how to use it. Adobe Illustrator and InDesign have more features and can provide very professional results - especially for posters including lots of high-resolution images - but are more complex and expensive.

68 Software Cont

Software Cont

MicroSoft Excel can create graphics and export them for PowerPoint - but you'll need to clean them up. DeltaGraph is also a nice tool, but keep your graphs clean. OpenOffice offers no-cost alternatives to MS Office. Impress is the PowerPoint alternative, and Draw is a vector graphics software package. See the OpenOffice web site or their documentation section for further information. Adobe Photoshop is great for manipulating images, but is also complex and expensive.

69 Present Your Poster

Present Your Poster

Use the graphics on your poster to support conversations with colleagues. Focus on the evidence: your graphics. Arrive early at the display site. Unless you're confident the organizers will have proper supplies, bring a poster hanging kit with you. Hang your poster square and neat. Make sure you're at your poster during your assigned presentation time.

70 Present Your Poster Cont

Present Your Poster Cont

You want people to remember you and your work! Bring copies of a handout for your readers. It should include a miniature version of your poster and more detailed information about your work, in an illustrated narrative form. Consider doing this on an 11x17-inch sheet of paper, folded in half. This allows three pages of information, in addition to the miniature of your poster. Put handouts, business cards, reprints nearby - on a table or in an envelope hung with the poster.

71 Present Your Poster Cont

Present Your Poster Cont

Restock supplies periodically, if poster is up for a long time. Consider leaving a pen and pad inviting comments from viewers. Use your poster as a visual aid - don't read it! Prepare 0.5-, 2-, & 5- minute tours of your poster.

72 Present Your Poster Cont

Present Your Poster Cont

Tell viewers ... the context of your problem and why it is important (Introduction),

73 your objective and what you did (Objective & Methods), what you

your objective and what you did (Objective & Methods), what you

discovered (Results), and what the answer means in terms of the context (Discussion).

74 Consider the Alternatives

Consider the Alternatives

Do this ... Use the graphics when you talk and focus on your evidence. Use your poster as a visual aid. When people ask you for a tour of your poster, use the graphic elements to explain your work.

75 Consider the Alternatives Cont

Consider the Alternatives Cont

Face your audience and tell them the context: identify the big problem, explain why the problem is important, and tell what you did to answer it, what the answer is, and what the answer means. As you talk in an audible, measured pace, point to the graphic features that demonstrate your message. Glancing at the figure as you point to it will direct your viewers' eyes to the figure.

76 Creating Effective Poster Presentations
77 Consider the Alternatives Cont

Consider the Alternatives Cont

... not this Give a detailed tour and be compulsively complete. Read carefully every line. Read all the text, trace every line on every graph, and dwell especially on the details of the methods. If you stand with your back to your audience, many people will find it easier to escape. Glance over your shoulder periodically to see if you can stop reading yet.

78 Consider the Alternatives Cont

Consider the Alternatives Cont

Speak in a low and hesitant tone - a whisper is ideal - and don't help viewers see what you're trying to show them.

79 Creating Effective Poster Presentations
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