Alt: A doodle carrying a beret paints a pictogram on an easel. The pictogram exhibits an individual sneezing.

Visuals are a robust software in our well being communication toolbox. They assist us convey massive concepts in a method that transcends language and cultural boundaries. And right here at We ❤ Health Literacy Headquarters, we’ve actually been digging a sure sort of visible currently: pictograms.

A pictogram is a drawing or picture that represents an concept in a easy, literal method. We can use pictograms to indicate really useful behaviors, signs, and different well being ideas that may be tough to clarify. They’re particularly helpful for audiences with restricted literacy abilities, restricted English proficiency, or cognitive disabilities. And as an added bonus, they assist us reinforce key messages for all readers!

Try these 3 fast tricks to create pictograms that may resonate along with your audiences:

  1. Use literal illustration as an alternative of summary symbolism. Some symbols or graphic conventions (like “Rx” for “prescription” or wavy strains to point warmth) might not resonate throughout cultures. So it’s necessary to make illustrations as literal and concrete as attainable.

    For instance, in case you’re making a pictogram to symbolize sneezing as a symptom, present an individual truly sneezing — not only a tissue field.

Alt: 2 variations of a pictogram seem above textual content that claims “Seasonal allergies can cause sneezing.” The first one is labeled “Instead of abstract symbolism” and exhibits a tissue field. The second one is labeled “Use literal representation” and exhibits an individual sneezing.

2. Incorporate reasonable particulars that support understanding. Use reasonable colours and embody particulars that present context to assist individuals perceive your pictogram. In the instance beneath, we’ve put the thermometer within the individual’s mouth and added flushed cheeks and sweat on the brow to extra clearly present that the individual has a fever.

Alt: 2 variations of a pictogram seem above textual content that claims “You may have a fever.” The first one is labeled “Instead of ambiguous visuals” and exhibits an individual with a thermometer beside their head. The second one is labeled “Use realistic details” and exhibits an individual with a thermometer of their mouth, flushed cheeks, and sweat on their brow.

3. Use a constant visible model. Did you already know that our short-term reminiscence can solely maintain a number of visible parts at a time? Interpreting a sequence of photos might be exhausting for anybody, and it’s particularly tough for individuals with restricted literacy abilities. To keep away from cognitive overload (overwhelming viewers with an excessive amount of info), use a constant visible model and comparable characters throughout all pictograms in a single materials.

In the instance beneath, we’ve used the identical character and artwork model for all 3 photos to assist keep away from cognitive overload.

Alt: 2 variations of a 3-part pictogram seem above textual content that claims “Eat a healthy diet. Get 8 hours of sleep. Get active.” The first model is labeled “Instead of mixing it up” and makes use of 3 totally different visible types to depict the three wholesome behaviors. The second model is labeled “Use a consistent visual style” and makes use of the identical model for all 3 behaviors.

The backside line: Pictograms may also help us talk massive concepts in an accessible method. Try these tricks to create pictograms that resonate along with your audiences.

Tweet about it: Pictograms can help us communicate big ideas in an accessible way. Try these tips to create #HealthLit pictograms that resonate with your audiences: https://bit.ly/35pn9ov



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