Graphic Version Three
In this version I have changed the background so that it is all white, instead of part white and part transparent. I also added the title for contrast, and aligned the + and = signs. Thanks for all the feedback, everyone!
Several class mates have offered suggestions on the alignment and proximity of my original graphic. They also mentioned the font being pixelated. I worked with the graphic and made considerable changes.
The alignment is centered now, rather than left-aligned. This improved the proximity of each filter equation. I also labeled the chart so its purpose is obvious at a glance. The biggest change, though, is in the font. Font pixelation has haunted me through every project in class so far. This week I found the problem. Fireworks doesn’t render text smoothly. There are tricks and workarounds, but the bottom line is that I haven’t found any of those to work. If you know of a way to enable anti-aliasing, or some other trick, in Fireworks, please post your comment to this blog post.
For now, I changed the graphic to a Google Drawings graphic. All the images were rendered in Fireworks CS6, then copied to a new Google Drawings canvas. There I could add a font that appears smooth on screen.
I hope you enjoy the new version of the graphic, and I look forward to hearing more suggestions!
Contrast, Alignment, Repetition, Proximity
The Filter Addition graphic above will provide target audience members with an introduction to the function filters serve in graphics editing. Filters can be used for a variety of special effects. Filters can also be used to touch up or tweak photographs. Learners who complete this unit will be exposed to the four filters included in the Filter Addition graphic. Learners will also be encouraged to experiment with the different filters and filter properties that Fireworks CS6 has to offer.
The initial target audience for this graphic will be teachers at my school. Since the unit will be hosted online, though, the target audience is wide and varied. There are some assumptions that can be made about the target audience. First, they all have Internet access and are familiar with browsing online. Second, they have access to Fireworks CS6 or a similar graphics editor. Other than that the technology skills are hard to determine. This unit, then, is written for beginning graphic editors.
Beginners may know how to create digital drawings and crop images. However, many will not have touched the filter menu, or even have an idea what a filter means in graphic design. For example, the word “noise” is usually considered a bad thing. As a filter, though, noise can help smooth images or add special effects. The intent of this graphic is to provide learners with a general idea of how filters work.
Why Will This Graphic Work?
This graphic illustrates the CARP actions that Lohr describes in chapter eight (Lohr, 2008, p. 207). I used contrast between the title text and the filter names. Contrast is also used to produce the overall effect that helps users understand the difference between the before (non-filtered) and after (filtered) images. Alignment helps chunk information to help the learner process it because of “the perception that aligned items are related” (Lohr, 2008, p. 201). Each filter equation is aligned on the center of the before and after images, bringing those equations together as one. There is horizontal white space between each equation to provide the learner with visual chunks. Repetition is evident in that each filter is represented by an equation. It is also shown with the repeated use of addition and equation signs that are vertically aligned. This creates a sense of harmony and unity in the graphic (Lohr, 2008, p. 203).
User Test Results
I learned from previous graphics in this class that certain fonts and backgrounds make for a pixelated appearance in the final graphic. Times New Roman on a 100% opaque background has worked well in reducing and eliminating the pixelation. All text on this graphic is in Times New Roman.
The original graphic I made for this lesson looked nothing like the current version. My original version didn’t pass the user test at all. It required too much explanation for it to make any sense to a beginner.
In the second version of the graphic I used the same image (repetition) with four different filters applied. User tests revealed that there was no need to use the same image four times. In fact, it obfuscated the point of each filter. The user wanted to know why noise needed to be added if it just messed up the picture (which is what it did to the matching images).
Finally, the names of the filters in version two of Filter Addition were aligned in the center of the page. Some filters required three lines of text, while others required only one. This looked awkward. The user suggested changing the filter names so that all were on one line of text.
Changes to the Original Image
All of the user suggestions made sense and really improved the overall appearance of the graphic. I followed the first suggestion, putting the information in simple addition equations. That is also where the title of the graphic came from.
I dropped the idea of using the same image for all four filters. I changed the images, selecting a particular image for each filter that showed off that filter’s effect on the images. Noise on the lighthouse, for example, makes it look more like a stone structure than the image without the noise.
For the filter name alignment, I moved all of the filter names so they are left-aligned and appear on a single line of text. This only required adding 100 pixels to the width of the image, so it will still print on one page if desired.
Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson/Merrill/Prentice Hall.