Imagine this…

Written by: Tim McCleary, Chief Experience Officer


I’d like you to imagine something for a minute. I’d ask you to close your eyes for the full effect, but then you couldn’t read the following text:

It’s 8 a.m. You’re at a conference.
The room is a typical, windowless hotel meeting space, with dim light.
At the front of the room, there’s a person standing behind a lectern. He’s droning on about a topic you’re vaguely interested in.
What’s worse is that he has just clicked to his 26th PowerPoint slide.
At that moment, your carb-loaded, everything bagel kicks in, overpowering the caffeine coursing through your veins.
You’re fighting it, but your eyelids win the battle.
It’s official. You’re snoozing.

Now, take a look at this illustration.

If you’re an average reader, it took you about 16 seconds to read the text. In contrast, how long did it take you to digest the illustration? Science proves that it was a fraction of that time.

Why did this happen?

The answer is simple: our brains process visual information 60,000 times faster than text! So, in the time it took you to read just the first few words of that paragraph, your brain processed the entire illustration and understood the gist of the story.

Now, imagine a different scene.

It’s still 8 a.m. – and you’re at that same conference. The speaker is presenting on his topic, but something is happening in the room you haven’t seen before. There’s a person standing at the front, next to the presenter. She’s capturing the content in visual metaphors and brief text – all in real time.

I first saw this at a conference about 16 years ago, and I was mesmerized. The speaker’s story was visually unfolding – in front of my eyes. It was magical.

I found this to be so compelling that we’ve been incorporating it into almost all of our work since. We call it visual involvement and we have six visual involvers on our team.

Visual involvement engages audiences during a talk, a team meeting or a large scale event. And what’s great about it – it has lasting impact. I often say it’s like taking a photo while on vacation. You can look at that photo months, even years later, and be transported back to that moment. Visual involvement has that same effect.

So, when more than 90 percent of information coming to our brains is visual, it makes sense to play to that strength. Get the picture?

Thanks for being involved today.

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Urban Emu is an experience agency with a fast growing team of experience designers, facilitators, strategists, researchers, UX/UI designers, and software engineers that create innovative experiences to improve and transform businesses.

We love to hear about ideas big or small. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us regarding your project.

Email: hello@urbanemu.com