Seven Crucial Considerations— Download the Infographic!
Images play a crucial role in enhancing engagement. However, if these visuals only appeal to a narrow segment of your audience, they could potentially alienate other learners. Read on for a summary, and download the infographic for reference.
Research by Getty Images reveals that a staggering 80% of people worldwide feel it's insufficient to merely include individuals of diverse ethnicities, backgrounds, and appearances in advertising. Instead, they anticipate companies more accurately depicting people's authentic lifestyles and cultures. We can infer the same for virtual and hybrid learning, especially as audiences become more global.
Visuals tap into our implicit knowledge—the things we understand without consciously acknowledging that we do. Much of this implicit knowledge is cultural; for example, we associate white with wedding dresses or perceive an owl as a symbol of wisdom. These images also stir emotions based on past experiences and context.
Thoughtfully designing images that learners can take away with them helps make virtual training memorable and sustainable.
Don't you want this for your training? Read on for more detail, or get the infographic.
7 Considerations when Designing Images for Global Virtual and Hybrid Learning Environments
1. UNDERSTANDING, MEANING, PLEASING, FAMILIARITY (UMPF)
Understanding: Do they understand it? Do they understand what you wanted them to?
Meaning: Does it mean what you want it to?
Pleasing: Is it aesthetically pleasing to them? Does it feel good?
Familiarity: How familiar is it to them? Does it feel right?
Some languages are written left to right, others right to left, and some top to bottom. This affects the way people look at visuals and where they expect to find things. It is also important to consider how much blank space is appropriate.
3. DETAILS VS. THE WHOLE PICTURE
Easterners tend to take in the whole picture, the whole context, and make meaning from it, such as the relationship between items. Westerners tend to focus on details and draw their information from that, such as size, amount, color, or shape.
Does it reflect their geography and context? Consider, for example, desert vs. rain forest, tropic vs. arctic, city vs. farmland.
Check the meaning. For example, the use of a national flag is fun or patriotic for some, but serious, or even dangerous, for others. An owl represents wisdom in some western countries, but is a bad omen in the Arab world.
What colors mean or symbolize, and what colors or color combinations we like, vary from culture to culture. You can check out color meanings on the color wheel to get started.
Write for simplicity and understandability. Sometimes technical language is easier to understand, once the terms have been learned. Idioms, sayings, or proverbs (e.g. time is money, don’t beat around the bush) should be replaced. Using slightly more text helps non-native language speakers (e.g. complete directions, phrases vs. words). Subtitle all videos, either in English (closed captioning) or in the learners’ language.
Images need to be appropriate for the culture and for the learning purpose. Knowing the norms, history and current conversation, helps you make an informed choice about the social or political statement that you may be making.
Race and ethnicity: There are different groups of people in any country, some of whom are more advantaged than others. Sometimes this is by race, sometimes by ethnicity.
Gender: Understanding and respecting the use of pronouns and how learners identify creates a respectful environment for all.
Age: Some cultures expect older people to be respected and to have higher positions.
Dress: Cultures vary on what they wear, how formally or informally they dress, and what is considered modest.
Individuals or groups: Some cultures are individualistic and default to pictures of individuals unless making specific reference to a group. Other cultures are collectivistic and default to the group, unless there is a specific reason to picture an individual.
Creating culturally inclusive visuals entails scrutinizing your assumptions and seeking culturally sensitive ways to convey the same message. It's a way for you to emotionally engage with your learner audience.
Click below to download our Cultural Inclusivity Checklist for Presentation Visuals to help you evaluate your virtual classroom visuals.