Most of us are hardwired to absorb ideas visually. It’s a well-known fact that about 65% of the human race (that’s nearly 2 in 3 individuals) process and retain information better through pictures than with any other format. That’s why you’re simply doing a huge chunk of your audience a massive disservice if you’re not tweaking your content to appeal to visual learners’ sensibilities.
So, how do you see to it that the next piece of content you put out is able to meet the exacting demands of people who rely on visual stimuli?
There aren’t any hard-and-fast rules to make this happen, of course. But people in lab coats have given this some careful thought, ran some tests, and came up with a pretty decent sense of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to crafting content for a predominantly visually-oriented audience. Here’s a few ideas you should definitely consider trying out.
#1: Make text speak out, not just stand out
Just because visual learners prefer pictures over words doesn’t mean you should do away with text altogether. Yes, the brain supposedly processes images 60,000 times faster than it does text, but words provide meaning and context that graphics alone simply cannot.
To make sure your content really delivers a richer experience for visual learners, words and pictures should balance–not outweigh–each other. We won’t go into the details here, but good design practice requires that you take things like the content goals, audience expectation, weighting of elements and delivery method into account.
#2: Mix a healthy dose of minimalism with reductionism
Let’s say you’re putting together an infographic based on a recently-released Gartner industry report. There’s obviously going to be a lot of data points that your infographic might highlight, and there can be a dizzying number of ways to present these individual bits of information graphically.
A reductionist method, in this case, might involve grouping related stats together into easily-digestible pieces (such as by topic area). A minimalist approach meanwhile might focus on lessening clutter and distractions in the imagery (font choices, color schemes, whitespaces, etc.).
In other words, reductionism breaks down complex things into simpler parts, while minimalism is concerned with having just the right amount of everything. That said, these two design philosophies clearly go hand in hand when optimizing content for the visually-inclined.
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#3: Hone in on the details, but don’t overlook the big picture
Visual learners grasp information at varying levels of granularity–from down in the trenches all the way to the 30,000-foot view. To make your content more engaging to this audience segment, it needs to reflect both detail-oriented and big-picture thinking.
This means that, when crafting your content, you have to carefully consider specific design elements (typography, colors, filters, and shapes) as well as how these items fit together (contrast, relative sizes, proportions, symmetry, and layout) in order to capture and hold your audience’s attention.
Even the subtlest change in a single detail can lead to a very different outcome for your content as a whole. In an age of dwindling attention spans, that can make all the difference in the world.
You risk disappointing a large portion of your audience if you don’t consider what turns visual learners on. So, before you unleash your next content idea onto the world, be sure to plan and design your material thoroughly while keeping these three guidelines in mind.
Ralph is a content writer at Callbox. He closely follows developments in B2B marketing and occasionally looks back on interesting business stories. He enjoys reading, playing the guitar, and spending time with his pet cat.