The Superpower of Visuals

“Unless our words, concepts and ideas are hooked onto an image, they will go in one ear, sail through the brain, and go out of the other ear. Words are processed by our short-term memory where we can only retain about seven bits of information… Images on the other hand go directly into long-term memory where they are indelibly etched.”

Lynell Burmark

What if I told you are only utilising half your brain at work?

Half of the human brain is directly or indirectly devoted to processing visual information. To make the most of our ability to understand information, we need to appeal to the side of our brain that processes visuals.

But few of us make the most of that because we tend to focus more on verbal conversations or written language than visuals. If you have something you need to tell a colleague, what do you do? You will probably send them an email, slack message or talk to them face to face (this last one being either 3D or 2D).

How often do you draw, create a diagram or colour code? We are more likely to type out an email or write some notes in a very plain way.

The backend

When we use our vision, it takes up two thirds of the electrical activity of the brain. If you are wondering what that looks like it accounts for 2 billions firings per second. We know this thanks to the work of neuroanatomist R.S. Fixot. Electrical activity is how the different parts of the brain communicate. Information is being sent and received throughout your brain. So a lot of brain power is triggered when interpreting visual information. Our brains responds well to images.

Because the nature of our work is creative, we invent things, showing how the concepts are translated into the product is very powerful.

Ines Garcia, Becoming more Agile whilst delivering Salesforce (first publication 2020)

Oh yes… visuals and visuals, yet so far I have only given you text. See below (selected at random) images from previous posts. Think about, how many words (and time!) would be required to digest the same information the image gives you at an instant;

sample flow
sample release timeline
sample knowledge articles analysis
sample architecture diagram
sample Marketing Cloud supermessages consumption

If you are not yet making the most of visuals is time to rollup your sleeves.

Want more?

I’m speaking at London’s Calling about this very subject, I’ll bring plenty of recent real examples of how I use this in my day to day. You don’t have to be an artist, I’ll show you some elements, patterns and tools to get on with it!

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