Is the visualization really effective

Learn to visualize? This is how you use the power of images

The ability to turn words and data into pictures is not only super effective, but also easy to learn.

In this article, you will learn what visualization is all about and how you can learn it in a targeted manner.

Table of Contents

What does visualization mean?

Before we look at how to successfully visualize, we should understand the meaning of the word "visualization".

Visualization refers to making abstract data visible.

So it's about bringing data (which also includes texts) into a comprehensible, visible form. This also includes Charts, photos, infographics or maps.

Under the main topic of Sketchnotes, however, this article is primarily about the simple visualization with the help of pictures. It thus also forms the basis for advanced techniques such as graphic recording or visual facilitation.

Visualization in four steps

When a professional graphic recorder visualizes a lecture or a process, all you can usually see is how great graphics (and text) appear on the paper. But there are many complex processes involved.

The following four steps can be identified:

  • Record information
  • Understand information
  • Filter & abstract
  • Present information visually

Of course, this doesn't necessarily have to happen in real time. It all depends on where you want to use your visualizations (for example in flipcharts, presentations, blogs or minutes).

Use simple imagery

In order to learn to visualize, you have to develop the ability to represent images as simply as possible. Similar to symbols in road traffic that use very simple shapes.

The following factors will help you to display images as simply as possible:

  • Make use of learned symbols
  • Two-dimensional drawing without any claim to realism
  • Breakdown of complex structures into simple basic forms
  • No claim to perfection or art (at least not in our context)

Tip: Sometimes it also helps to think about how a child would draw something. Children paint very intuitively, without excessive perfectionism and manage to put their environment on paper in the simplest of forms. And yet we (mostly) recognize what a drawing is supposed to represent.

I have already shown in detail in another article how to draw symbols with the help of basic shapes. Make sure to check it out if you want to learn to visualize.

Learn and train to visualize

But how do you learn all of these individual skills now?

The only way to learn to visualize is to visualize.

That sounds a bit flat at first, but it is absolutely true. If you want to visualize, you have to get into action.

Try your hand at the first simple symbols and abstract images. Get used to using a pen for more than just writing.

Draw familiar symbols and visualizations and test their use on flipcharts, presentations or in your notes. With every concept that you visualize, you will get a little bit better and become more confident.

Over time you will remember more and more symbols and a real symbol library will be created. Like learning a new language vocabulary.

Various creative techniques can also help you come up with completely new symbols.

Why visualizing is so effective

But why is visualization so effective at all? And why should you even invest time learning to visualize?

The answer is (as is so often the case) the human brain:

  • 83% of our perception is visual (through the eyes)
  • Large parts of our brain are designed for visual perception
  • We notice pictures faster than texts (picture dominance or picture superiority effect)
  • In contrast to texts, images do not have to be decoded and can therefore be captured much faster (approx. 60,000 times faster)
  • Our brains remember pictures much better and longer

Put simply: the brain loves pictures!

It is therefore clear: The use of visualizations is an effective, if not essential, means of conveying information. And this effectiveness is also the reason for the popularity of sketchnotes.

Time to pick up the pens and start drawing your first symbols and graphics!

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