20 June 2019

Critique: Quantum circuits

 It’s time to descend into the quantum realm...

Today’s contribution comes from Adam Kelly. Click to enlarge!

When I first opened this up, I could see a few things. I liked the colour. I liked some elements of the type. The organization is a little unusual, but clear. And it sure looks like a lot of reading.

I don’t know how much all the good things weighs against that last one.

This reminds me of a “News and Views” article in Nature or an “In Depth” piece in Science. The poster is divided almost exactly in half, like a two page spread in magazine. The sidebars and blocks of text feel like they are from a magazine article. The summary under the title, with the byline under that, looks like Nature’s house style. Here’s an example:

And this example from Science is similar. Big title, then short summary, then the author.

This is so common in magazines that I hadn’t realized that I almost never see this style on a poster. And now that I think about it, it’s damn clever. People are going to look at the title more than anything else. So this provides a good way of providing a teaser or summary exactly where people will look the most.

And with apologies to your ego, that content is more important than your name and affiliation (which is usually what goes right under the title), so the summary deserves to be above your name.

The amount of text is perfect for an article that you might have in the faculty or grad student lunchroom, where you could spend a half an hour working through the bits, then pick it up and re-read the next day to make sure you understood it.

It would make a great poster in a department hallway or classroom or lab for the same reason. People could see it over and over, and pick it apart as over a few days.

But in a conference? I would probably ignore this, unless I was very interested in quantum circuits. Not only is there a lot, but the type is small and hard to read from a distance. I can see the title, summary, and headings fine, but all the regular text text would probably fail the “arm’s length” test. Even if I was way into quantum circuits, I probably wouldn’t invest the time to read it if the presenter wasn’t there. I would want to talk to Adam personally.

To borrow a turn of phrase from artist Sam Keith, this poster is like Jimi Hendrix in the Beatles. It’s brilliant, but it might be in the wrong place.

External links

Adam Kelly

1 comment:

Uwalls said...

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