17 May 2012

Critique: Personality types

Today’s poster is shown with the permission of David Caldwell. You may click to see David’s handiwork in larger size.

I like the use of emphasis in the title. I like it a lot. I’ve not seen that done before, and I think it’s excellent way to make it easier for people who are scanning for posters while walking to find the poster.

The colours are well chosen. They are consistent and attractive. I do wonder if some of the greens (e.g., in the graph at the top of right column) are distinct enough. If printing was poor, or light was low, it might be hard to tell those apart.

I'm not sure I get what the central column is showing me. I get that they are emails, and that the orange circle is telling me something about the different groups of students. But I don’t see how these six differ. They might need a little bit of explanation in a caption somwhere.

The text hierarchies could be strengthened more. “Objectives” and “Methods” should be set in bigger text than the title of the “Summary characteristics...” table below them. Likewise, “Conclusions” is getting lost because it’s not noticeably bigger than anything else around it.

There’s a mixture of alignments in the right column; some is left justified, some is centered.

The Y axis of the bar graph is unlabelled, and the graph has no error bars. Also, I’m not a fan of putting numbers on a bar graph; error bars would convey much more useful information. If the exact numbers are that important (which, on a poster, they almost never are), they should be in a table, rather than as redundant information in a bar graph.

I am not sold on putting the labels on alternating sides in the “Survey results,” either. This is a table, so one should follow the conventions for a table. Alternately, this could be a graph, or set of graphs, with means and error bars. It might be easier and faster to read.

Based on some of these comments, David did this revision:

The original might have a slight edge in being inviting to someone walking past, by virtue of that big central column with pictures. This version will reward anyone who stops and reads it with a clearer story.

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