Visual Abstracts: Distilling Research and Serving It in a Nice Glass
In this “too long, didn’t read” world, how can researchers and institutional communicators catch the eye of social media audiences and others and help them understand at a glance the main points of a journal article, conference presentation, report, or guideline? Enter the Visual Abstract – a graphic, sized for Twitter or a single PowerPoint slide, that distills key findings or conclusions into as few words, numbers, and icons as possible.
After a 2017 study showed that sharing Visual Abstracts in tweets nearly triples the number of link clicks, journals and conferences began asking researchers to create them, in addition to traditional text abstracts. Institutions can harness them too as a tool for sharing information of all kinds. They’re especially useful in the absence of other visuals. This presentation -- by two communicators from the birthplace of the Visual Abstract – will equip attendees to create their own or assist researchers.
- Understand the origins and growth of Visual Abstracts, and the evidence for their use
- Learn the process for creating a Visual Abstract, including key tools and design principles
- Equip communicators to help researchers create and refine Visual Abstracts about their work
Kara Gavin, M.S.
Lead Public Relations Representative, Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan
Kara Gavin, M.S., specializes in writing engaging stories about discoveries and issues in science, medicine, and health policy and connecting reporters with experts. For more than 25 years, most of them at the University of Michigan, she has helped bring the work of researchers to broad public audiences and to the attention of reporters. A science writing graduate of Lehigh University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, she serves a Lead Public Relations Representative for Michigan Medicine, U-M’s academic medical center, and as Research & Policy Media Relations Manager for the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation. She also plays French horn in the U-M Life Sciences Orchestra, which she helped found, and is a proud theater mom and Girl Scout leader.
Emily Smith, M.A.
Multimedia Designer, Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, University of Michigan
Emily Smith, M.A. is a Multimedia Designer at the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation (IHPI). She supports IHPI and its collaborating centers by developing visuals that promote healthcare research and policy. Emily also leads internal workshops to help U-M faculty and staff better understand visual abstracts, design principles, and the creation of effective presentation slides. Prior to joining IHPI, Emily worked as a Graphic Designer for the Ohio University Communications and Marketing. While at Ohio University, she also served as an adjunct faculty and instructed a beginner design course within the School of Visual Communication. Emily currently resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan with her husband and three cats.