25 September 2014

Link roundup for September 2014

Andrew Maynard included this as an example of a “more radical” poster design in his post, Creating Poster Presentations that Tell Stories:

Andrew goes on to write:

To me, a poster presentation for me is an aid for story telling – to be used by an in-person narrator. The reality though is that sometimes the poster needs to be able to at least hint at that story without your in-person input.  This creates something of a design-conflict.

He also says:

Coward that I am I should note that the posters aren’t great, but hopefully illustrate process

Over at Southern Fried Science, Chris Parsons has penned Mr Darcy’s Guide to Conference Etiquette – Part 1, which includes thoughts on posters:

Posters give one a unique ability to talk directly to conference goers, often while they are well flown on a glass or two of wine, in a depth one cannot achieve with the audience at an oral presentation. A single good, well-designed poster is also very memorable, much more so than dozens of slides in an oral presentation.

This also prompted this Twitter exchange about poster sessions.

Keith Bradnam is a person after my own heart, doing his bit to improve conference posters. He has a nice post called The problem with posters at academic conferences. And the problem, according to Keith?

The problem here is not with the total amount of text — though that can sometimes be an issue — but with the width of the text.

A new paper in PLOS Computational Biology by Rougier and colleagues offers ten guidelines for better figures, which can be an important component of better posters. I would put their rule #5 much higher on the list...

  1. Know your audience
  2. Identify your message
  3. Adapt the figure to the support medium
  4. Captions are not optional
  5. Do not trust the defaults
  6. Use color effectively
  7. Do not mislead the reader
  8. Avoid “chartjunk”
  9. Message trumps beauty
  10. Get the right tool

While this poster leaves something to be desired graphically (too much stuff), I enjoy the title. Hat tip to Nick Loman and Mike the Mad Biologist.

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