9.3 A Note on Visual Communication
| When the audience
represents a diverse group of backgrounds and disciplines and particularly
when the venue for communication is constrained by space or time, visual
communication (graphs, charts, illustrations) often helps make the key
points to the reader or audience. Supplementary to the age-old counsel
that a picture is worth a thousand words is a telling passage
found in one of the communications texts referenced at the beginning of
Following this advice will help strengthen the link between sound analysis on the one hand and sound regulatory decisionmaking or a clear understanding of stakeholder impacts on the other. Not only should visual communication reflect the logic of the analysis, but the need to display results visually can also lead to a more logical analytic design.
| Again, the reader
can turn to the texts referenced at the beginning of the chapter for a
more thorough treatment of the use of visual aids in reports and presentations.
An example here can elucidate some key points. Tables such as Table 9-2
are ideal for reports, when the reader can take some time to inspect the
detail. However, in an oral presentation, the audience might be distracted
in their attempt to interpret the tabular data. Charts can provide a solution
to this problem. Figure 9-1 translates the net benefits data from Table
9-2 to bar charts, where the apparent dominance of Incentive Option A
and Incentive Option B becomes immediately apparent. Of course, information
is lost in the translationin this case, the underlying levels of
benefits and costs. In each case, the presenter should evaluate whether
the benefits of the simpler graphic approach (ease and speed of interpretation)
outweigh the costs (lost information) in terms of meeting the information
needs of the audience.