Thursday, June 08, 2006

Reflection on session 2: Good graphic design to facilitate dissemination of information

Steiner (1997, quoted in Allen, 1997) stated that enrichment in artistic education in childhood can contribute to their life-long openness to experience, to the intensity of their vision, and to their ability to test the boundaries of the known and the familiar. However, schools in Hong Kong do not value the subject Visual Art in the whole curriculum.

In fact, we are flooded with information which comes into different format. We need to the skills to use graphic as well as to understand it. A good design of graphic will help us to disseminate information in a more effective way. A good design of graphic will save us time to read and facilitate the understanding of it. As a teacher who acts a facilitator of learning of students, mastery of the skills of graphic design of information is not only beneficial, but necessary.

An information-oriented, systematic graphic design should help people understand complex information. Successful visual communication through information-oriented, systematic graphic design relies on some key principles of graphic design (Martin, 1993).

Principles of User Interface Design (Martin, 1993)
There are three fundamental principles involved in the use of the visible language.
Organize: provide the user with a clear and consistent conceptual structure
Economize: do the most with the least amount of cues
Communicate: match the presentation to the capabilities of the user.

1. Organize: Consistency, screen layout, relationships and navigability are important concepts of organization.

2. Consistency: Same conventions and rules should be applied to all elements of the design.

3. Layout: A grid structure can help locate menues, dialogue boxes or control panels. The screen should be less cluttered and easier to understand.

4. Relationships: Linking related items and disassociating unrelated items can help achieve visual organization.

5. Simplicity: Simplicity includes only the elements that are most important for communication. It should also be as unobstrusive as possible.

6. Clarity: All components should be designed so their meaning is not ambiguous.

7. Emphasis: The most important elements should be easily perceived. Non-critical elements should be de-emphasized and clutter should be minimized so as not to hide critical information.

8. Readability: display must be easy to identify and interpret, should also be appealing and attractive.

These principles can give me guidelines when I make design for the teaching aids.


Allen, A. (1997). The polemics of visual thinking. Retrieved June 5, 2006, from .

Steiner, John. (1997). Notebooks of the mind: explorations in thinking. New York and
Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Effective Visual Communication for Graphical User Interfaces
by Suzanne Martin

Martin, S. (1993). Effective visual communication for graphical user interfaces.
Retrieved June 6, 2006, from


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