Last year we co-created the very first nationwide research on Visual Thinking.
Why did we decide to take part in reliable research on the effectiveness of visual thinking?
For years now we have been hearing from our clients, that what we do, works. But it’s one thing to see the delighted CEO of a technology company, whose 13-year-old son has finally comprehended what his father does for a living, and the other, to have hard measurable evidence for the effectiveness of our work.
Especially because among the three pillars of our work – psychology, storytelling, and visual thinking – the latter was the least researched one.
That’s why the methodology of the project was taken care of by the Centre for Innovation and Technology Transfer Management of Warsaw University of Technology.
As for the quality of the visual thinking, it was taken care of by Gabriela ‘Gabi’ Borowczyk and Explain Visually’s Klaudia Tolman.
How did the research look like?
It was conducted as a CAWI research from July through September 2018. Our main goal was to determine what people remember better, the text they’ve read or visualisation films they’ve watched (whiteboard animation/explainer video).
It’s worth mentioning that a similar study was conducted before by Prof. Richard Wiseman, one of the most renowned psychologists in the world. His study compared whiteboard animation to so-called talking heads. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwN7P2048R0]
An example of a scene from this movie:
Conclusions of the research on Visual Thinking
Over a period of 3 months, we have collected 1348 interviews. After analysing the data on their quality, correctness and coherence, 1046 interviews were taken into account.
The film was indeed proven more effective than text as a method of transferring information. Regardless of interviewees’ sex, age, or field of work.
The research also proved that the majority of people prefers visual medium to a text:
What has to be taken care of for visual thinking to be effective
As part of the research, we have also collected information on interviewees’ experience with visual thinking. We tried to determine how much this medium does help them understand and remember information as well as what has to be taken care of for that medium to be affective.
We managed to specify several areas that in the interviewees’ opinion impact the effectiveness of Visual Thinking:
It may be problematic to be able to focus on the medium, and not the message. That shows how the clarity of the message is more important than well developed, aesthetical form.
2. Coherence between the sender’s and recipient’s interpretation of the material.
“What the author meant?” That’s a question that visual thinking’s recipient should never have to ask themselves. That’s why it’s so important for the message to be self-explanatory.
3. Recipient’s involvement in the moment of presenting the ready material.
Some recipients, seeing the ready material, may not be involved enough in active comprehension. Just as some students, seeing the ready PowerPoint presentation from the lecture, do not try to read it carefully.
That’s why it’s so important for our message to be not only visual but also attractive. Sense of humour, storytelling and psychology might be helpful here. Elements as such help involve the viewers and listeners.
Conclusion of the study
To conclude, the visual medium is not only preferred to a text but also more efficiently supports remembering complex materials.
In the context of other research on visual thinking, we can confirm that visual thinking works.
Available there are visual summary on the research and the official report of the Centre for Innovation and Technology Transfer Management of Warsaw University of Technology. To get acquainted with it, you only need to enter your e-mail below, and we will send it to you: