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Definition for Continuity

When an adult picks up the latest issue of US News at the dentist’s office, he thumbs through it for the information it provides. When a child thumbs through the same magazine while waiting at the same office, he simply looks for the most interesting pictures. Visual design is an important aspect in information presentation. It can help illustrate the purpose of the presentation, as well as keep the reader interested in the data being presented. Essential elements in the deliverance of effective visual design include continuity, contrast, emphasis, simplicity and experience.

Properly utilizing these elements can produce a dynamite visual presentation results, leaving readers well informed as well as entertained. While not all presentations require visual effects, adding them to your work can provide a nice transition from traditional black-and-white drab. The elements of effective visual design further aid in adding appeal to information that would otherwise make for heavy eyelids. Continuity, or being consistent throughout, provides the author with credibility (Encarta, 2007).

In a report regarding birthday parties, providing pictures of cake, balloons, gifts, and a clown are all relevant details to the subject matter, but adding a picture of a person filing documents in an office setting would disrupt the continuity the visual presentation is attempting to deliver. Contrast is another important element. The reader should be able to distinguish between issues involved in the presentation. A pie chart detailing costs involved in house building and a bar graph examining loan rate options should not be confusing to the reader.

Emphasis, or stress on importance, is another detail to be considered when visually presenting information (Encarta, 2007). While shelving instructions provide verbal instruction, often pictures of the parts to be used and images of the shelf being pieced together are also included to further emphasize the execution of properly building a shelf. Simplicity is perhaps one of the most effective factors Visual Design 3 regarding visual presentations. Overwhelming the reader with various fonts, colors, and pictures can hinder the effectiveness of the information being presented.

Too many visual enhancements can stress the reader’s eyes, and even worse, confuse them. Clear, simple design is the best way to effectively carry out visual presentations. Finally, the experience the reader undergoes will be the final determinant in whether or not the visual design of a visual presentation was properly utilized. Upon completion of reviewing data involving visual presentation, the reader should have some recollection of experience derived from the presentation. Were they interested in the data? Did they laugh? Did the presentation invoke thought?

All of these questions can assist the author is determining whether he properly utilized the “experience” factor in his presentation. When an author chooses to incorporate visual design in a presentation, he takes on the challenge of effectively carrying out the data he chooses to include. Continuity of matter, contrast in visual aids, emphasis of importance, simplicity in design and the experience the reader undergoes are all details that will determine the success the author can be credited with.

References: 1. Definition for Continuity. (2007) Microsoft Corporation: Encarta Online Dictionary. March 2007.

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