You have probably heard the expression “a picture is worth more than a thousand words”. It may sound exaggerated but is there any true in this expression? Our team believes there is! Pictures make sense of information through different perspectives that complement and enhance our comprehension when it comes to complex topics. Also, when communicating large amounts of data, pictures can help the reader to navigate through the information and focus on the most relevant information. Bearing that in mind, we want to share with you some examples on how we used visuals to contribute and improve our final report.
Example 1: Images Simplifying Information
Using visual material can be a helpful tool in explaining data in a simple and direct way. For our final report, we chose to keep the background research session short but informative using images such as the one below. It aims to communicate general numbers about Tanzania and inform about the basic geography of the country in a way the reader can easily find and process all the information.
Example 2: Illustrations to Facilitate Comprehension
Explaining dynamics and activities through text can be challenging, and illustration is a very efficient way of making this type of information clearer. To facilitate the comprehension of the workshop methods used during our field trip, we chose to use schematic illustrations to help the reader visualize and understand how it was conducted in practice.
Example 3: Concept Maps to Visualize Actors and Interactions
When trying to understand complex systems concept maps can help visualize how different actors are connected to each other and how they interact. While processing our main findings during the end of our field trip, we used concept maps to organize our ideas and better understand how the main stakeholders relate to and influence each other, and what are the possible outcomes of these interactions. The figure below is a concept map based on one of our main findings.
Example 4: Graphs and Tables to Organize Large Amounts of Data
In projects that work with multiple sources of data, it might be tricky to articulate all necessary information in a simple way. Graphs and tables may be the most used visual formats to deal with this kind of a challenge. With graphs and tables information from different sources can be related in multiple levels in one image. To organize the data from our different experts interviews that took place during the project, we chose a simple and clear graph that uses colors and proportions to quickly let the reader know the position of all the experts in relation to the most relevant topics in the report.