ABOUT VISUAL ABSTRACT
Can you imagine not knowing something you know very well? Not knowing at all, not even having the faintest idea? And, by the same token, can you imagine what it would take to explain something obvious to you to someone who has absolutely no clue, not even remotely?
In 1990, Elizabeth Newton, a Ph.D. candidate at the Stanford University, conducted an experiment to isolate this condition. In her experiment, one person had to identify a popular song by listening to another person’s tapping the melody out. The fascinating thing about the experiment was that the “tappers” were sure that the listeners would be able to identify at least 50% of the songs.
It was a shock for them to realise that the listeners, in fact, managed to get only one out of forty correctly. For the people who tapped, the songs sounded perfectly clear, leaving no room for misunderstanding. For the listeners, however, it was only a dull sound of a finger tapping. This is exactly what happens if you try to explain something that is obvious to you to someone else who is not in the know. And it’s not too big a deal, if the goal is simply to guess a popular song. However, if you are a scientist who needs to get published, the stakes are a lot higher. These days, journals often request submitting a “graphical” or “visual abstract” along with the article. However, to provide a graphic, you would either have to be a graphic designer yourself or - you would have to explain your idea to a graphic designer, but then you end up right where you started. And, once published, you want your article to leave an impression and remain easily accessible in research repositories. Also, on occasion, you would want to share the gist of your research in social media or include a brief explanation into a job application.
If you feel overwhelmed with all these tasks and questions, you’d be pleased to find out that there is a one-stop shop for you, and it is called Visual Abstract. They help you get your message loud and clear in a format that is highly readable, visual, helpful, compelling, and easily publishable online. In marketing terms, it’s your research boilerplate.
Also, they can help you make your idea comprehensible even to those who have no clue - and spare you the effort of explaining the (seemingly!) obvious.