Abstract

The purpose of explanation graphics is to present processes, quantities, and phenomena. In many cases such as facial expressions, emotional effects, and spatial relations, there is great potential for graphics to explain things and relations in clearer and more sophisticated ways than mere texts can. From the viewpoint of visual information, well-planned and sophisticated graphics can tell stories and make complex ideas clear (Holmes, 1984; Jacobson, 1999; Wurman, 1989; Tufte, 1983/2001). Effective and efficient guidelines for successful explanation graphics can help people make good decisions quickly. For example, explanation graphics for safety can rescue people. Most people usually do not have someone with professional training by their side when an accident occurs. And if a serious accident occurs, emergency response is critical. Here again, what is important is not only that the right action be taken but also that it be taken quickly. In emergencies, explanation graphics can save time by conveying complex ideas clearly. Given the tremendous potential of visual graphics, it is worthwhile to enlarge their functionality and to enrich their effects. In view of the various forms of visual representation and explanation graphics on safety guides, this paper addresses three analytical approaches to investigating explanation graphics: (1) analysis-ofcommunication techniques ensure the quality of the visual representation; (2) multimodality discourse clarifies the use of visual languages and visual structures within representations; (3) usability testing gauges the effectiveness of designs, such as users’ grasp of emergency-oriented exploration graphics. Analysis-of-communication techniques investigate images and layouts from a technical view of graphic design. In multimodality discourse, one analyzes the graphical information by exploring relevant literature and by paying special attention to such information as value, salience, and framing (Kress & van Leeuwen, 2006), and the visual-textual interrelations across the expression plane, the content plane, and the context plane (O’Halloran, 2007). The usability test serves to verify the effects of design elements. By drawing from the social semiotics of language (Halliday, 1978/1985), visual design (Kress & van Leeuwen, 1996), and visual language systems (Horn, 1998), this article establishes a systematic and a strategic assessment of explanation graphics on safety guides from the perspective of visualinformation design. Moreover, this paper pays attention to users’ experiences of designed representations. Conveyable graphics should be able to provide correct information efficiently and effectively from a practical viewpoint of visual-information design. The descriptive results of current study should provide fundamental principles for visual elements and for composition in explanation graphics. It also suggests ways to organize and represent effective visuals that associate with users’ needs and life experiences.

Keywords

visual-information design, explanation graphics, communication techniques, multi-semiotics, multimodality, user experience

COinS
 
Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

The Multimodality and the Communication of Explanation Graphics: Three analytical approaches on safety guides

The purpose of explanation graphics is to present processes, quantities, and phenomena. In many cases such as facial expressions, emotional effects, and spatial relations, there is great potential for graphics to explain things and relations in clearer and more sophisticated ways than mere texts can. From the viewpoint of visual information, well-planned and sophisticated graphics can tell stories and make complex ideas clear (Holmes, 1984; Jacobson, 1999; Wurman, 1989; Tufte, 1983/2001). Effective and efficient guidelines for successful explanation graphics can help people make good decisions quickly. For example, explanation graphics for safety can rescue people. Most people usually do not have someone with professional training by their side when an accident occurs. And if a serious accident occurs, emergency response is critical. Here again, what is important is not only that the right action be taken but also that it be taken quickly. In emergencies, explanation graphics can save time by conveying complex ideas clearly. Given the tremendous potential of visual graphics, it is worthwhile to enlarge their functionality and to enrich their effects. In view of the various forms of visual representation and explanation graphics on safety guides, this paper addresses three analytical approaches to investigating explanation graphics: (1) analysis-ofcommunication techniques ensure the quality of the visual representation; (2) multimodality discourse clarifies the use of visual languages and visual structures within representations; (3) usability testing gauges the effectiveness of designs, such as users’ grasp of emergency-oriented exploration graphics. Analysis-of-communication techniques investigate images and layouts from a technical view of graphic design. In multimodality discourse, one analyzes the graphical information by exploring relevant literature and by paying special attention to such information as value, salience, and framing (Kress & van Leeuwen, 2006), and the visual-textual interrelations across the expression plane, the content plane, and the context plane (O’Halloran, 2007). The usability test serves to verify the effects of design elements. By drawing from the social semiotics of language (Halliday, 1978/1985), visual design (Kress & van Leeuwen, 1996), and visual language systems (Horn, 1998), this article establishes a systematic and a strategic assessment of explanation graphics on safety guides from the perspective of visualinformation design. Moreover, this paper pays attention to users’ experiences of designed representations. Conveyable graphics should be able to provide correct information efficiently and effectively from a practical viewpoint of visual-information design. The descriptive results of current study should provide fundamental principles for visual elements and for composition in explanation graphics. It also suggests ways to organize and represent effective visuals that associate with users’ needs and life experiences.

 

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