We currently live in the “big data era” and the constant sharing of thousands of pieces of data and information can lead to audience overwhelm and “information anxiety” (Bian & Ji, 2021, p. 1). Therefore, it is the responsibility of technical and professional communicators to help the public overcome this information overload by disseminating complex textual information. However, this new age of digitalization is becoming more and more visual, and visual design is becoming more complex and is also being regarded as a new way of artistic expression. Therefore, we must also take on the responsibility of not only disseminating textual information but also visual information as well.
Jianying Bian and Ying Ji’s article “Research on the Teaching of Visual Communication Design Based on Digital Technology” is a topic that TPC practitioners should keep in mind when working with information that has elements of visual communication embedded into them. Understanding the visual elements of the graphics and images associated with the text and their relevance is just as important for audience comprehension. Bian and Ji agree that the basic principle of disseminating visual design communication is about “being able to accurately convey information” through the “design application of visual representation of information visualization” (Bian & Ji, 2021, p. 2). This is relatively the same principle that TPC practitioners share, so it is important for us to keep visual designs in mind when disseminating material.
The article briefly explains how different elements of digital visual communication can affect audiences such as the use of colors, methods of delivery, and the use of different types of graphics. Bian and Ji also share a few important visualization theories which help explain how visual designs affect human cognition, memory, and retention. Lastly, Bian and Ji share how instructors of visual design communication can effectively teach components of information visualization and visual representation concepts. If instructors adapt teaching methods such as incorporating emotional experiences, case teaching, interactions between teachers and students and students and society, and making full use of multimedia technologies, they can effectively use these elements to create better human-centered visual communication designs that resonate with audiences and improve retention.
As a student interested in textual design and the visual arts, I believe these components go hand in hand in our current highly visual and digitalized world. Technical communicators may find that developing a basic understanding of the visual arts can help easily disseminate complex information that have a combination of textual and visual elements for audience comprehension. Learning the basic elements of art foundation such as color theory, composition, etc., visual designs, and theories can possibly enrich and add more depth to a piece of written work that contains visual elements and help design more human-centered content.
Viewpoint Written by Jeranda Dennis, Texas State University
Edited by Kimberly N Uzzel, Texas State University