29 March 2018

Link roundup for March 2018

Animate Science has a “done in one” blog post about how to design a poster. Readers of the blog will find a lot of advise there familiar, but it’s very well done. It’s a much better “single serve” post than this blog is. (It’s not fair to expect newbies to read through nine years of posts.)

I might do a few things in their sample a little differently, though. Why put that big, eye-popping octopus picture down in the corner? And those dark colours might not be very readable if the lighting is poor.

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I’ve discussed accessibility issues with poster presentations before. But Sara Schley, writing for Inside Higher Education, argues that posters can, in some cases, be superior formats for students with accessibility issues:

Consider a poster session. Many faculty members assign individual or team presentations as a culminating activity at the end of the term. The learning goals of such activities often include student synthesis of information, oral presentation and writing. But the experience of listening to student presentations can be frustrating and suboptimal for students in general as well as students who rely on language access services in particular. When nervous, many read aloud quickly (or quietly, or while mumbling), rather than pacing information well and narrating skillfully.

In contrast, the structure of poster presentations requires students to have short, clear summaries of their material ready to discuss with attendees. Students synthesize their work on the poster, prepare shorter chunks of summary information to share with multiple people and gain practice in responding to specific questions about their work

That changes the learning experience from one focused on summarizing what they have learned (and presenting it once) to a shorter summary alongside more in-depth question-and-answer periods. It allows for a better learning experience over all for many students in the course, as well as students with disabilities who have an extra load in trying to process and access information.

Hat tip to Anne Hilborn.

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Speaking of accessibility, Kira McCabe has a lot to say about how to make posters (and oral talks) more accessible:

Poster sessions can be a nightmare for me. Sometimes I just want to skim the titles of posters, but I have a hard time doing this most of the time due to low contrast or small font of titles. ... I love posters, but I always have a hard time with them, too.

The post has seven awesome reminders: use larger font than you think is necessary, use less text, upload your poster, and more.

Hat tip to UTRGV Engaged Learning.

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Cool use of augmented reality on a poster by Darren Ellwein.

Hat tip to Al Dove.

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Illustrator Shiz Aoki curated timeline the BioTweeps Twitter account from the week of March 12! And she had tons of good illustration advice.

Check out figure makeovers!

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Quote of the month, from Katie Mack:

Cool images of science things don’t just materialize out of the ether. They represent a real person/group’s work and they can help us better understand the world and the cosmos, in addition to being beautiful.

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If you’ve made one chart, follow the conventions you set there for all the rest! Dr. Drang describes this blog post as:

It’s me being a grammar Nazi but with charts.

This is a good critique of an Olympics stats article in the Washington Post that randomly switches from bars graphs to stacked bar graphs to dougnut graphs. And that’s only the start of the problems. Hat tip to B. Haas.

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Found this very nice cheat sheet of RGB and CYMK values that work well for making figures visible to colour blind individuals:

From here. Another useful resource page is here.

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I had never heard the name Herb Lubalin before, but I should have. There is a celebration going on for his 100th birthday (had he lived). Excerpt from a bio:

Lubalin’s four decades-long career revolutionized American advertising and editorial design and his ideas were instrumental in changing designers’ attitudes and approaches towards typography. Lubalin characterized this approach as Graphic Expressionism: “the use of typography, or letterforms, not just as a mechanical means for setting words on a page, but rather as another creative way of expressing an idea...to elicit an emotional response from the viewer”. According to Lubalin “nobody was bothering to fool around with the way you form the letters themselves”. That is exactly what he did. Letters became objects, and objects were transformed into letters.

Hat tip to Melissa Vaught.

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Another name I didn’t recognize, but who was an innovator who pushed for the respectability of posters, is Aubrey Beardsley. Maria Popova at BrainPickings has this to say:

(H)e championed the poster and large-scale print work as a modern medium of graphic art. Born under the tyranny of oil painting as the only acceptable form of “picture,” he rebelled against the notion that a picture is “something told in oil or writ in water to be hung on a room’s wall” and tirelessly defied the conceit that the poster artist is somehow a lesser, lighter artist than the painter.

An attitude rather similar to that in this blog, if I might be so bold.

1 comment:

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