5 ways to present information visually

I benefit from information being presented visually. So in this blog post, I’d like to share with you 5 ways to present information visually, and the purposes I use them for.

1. Spider diagram

What’s a spider diagram?

A diagram that has a main idea in the middle and key points around it. Spider diagrams don’t always use colour and have no specific structure.  In other words, you can position the key points wherever you wish.

I use spider diagrams to:

a) Brainstorm for a piece of creative writing

b) Plan a piece of non-fiction writing. I write my key points on post-it notes because this lets me move them around once I have them all down. Having my content all on one page lets me make connections between points.  For example, often I realise that 2 or 3 points that I thought were separate are actually examples of the same thing.  That lets me group them.  Moving and grouping my points generates a structure.

c) Learn and give talks. When I’m using spider diagrams for talks, I add pictures because they help me memorise the content. I chunk my talk into sections and for each section I make a different spider diagram on a different colour of paper

2. Mind map

What’s a mind map?

Like a spider diagram, a mind map is a diagram that has a main idea in the middle and key points around it. However, mind maps also show how the points relate to each other, and use colour, symbols and pictures.

Here are 3 resources on mind mapping

a) Audiobook: Mind Mapping – How to Liberate Your Natural Genius

b) Step-by-step instructions: ‘Understanding Dyslexia’ pages 68-75

c) Software:  I Have a Writing Difficulty, What Can Help?

3. Illustrated text

What’s illustrated text?

Text and complementary images presented together to convey the same information. I make a simple table in Word with 2 columns. I put one point in each row, with an image on the left and the corresponding text on the right.

I use illustrated text to:

a) Learn talks I give

b) Learn stories

c) Summarise recommendations I make in a talk (I hand out copies to the audience)

You can find sources of images in

a) CALL Scotland’s Guide to Picture and Symbol Sets for Communication and

b) Our top 5 sites for sourcing great images and photos on your iPad.

4. Sketchnote

What’s a sketchnote?

A record of something in words, pictures and other visual elements e.g. colour, frames, callouts. The text and visual elements combine to make an integrated whole.

I’ve made sketchnotes to summarise the main points of talks and blog posts I’ve given / written. And sketchnotes by others have helped me to learn stories and to find out about a network group.

For more information see Sketchnoting for Teaching and Learning.

5. Timeline

What’s a timeline?

A line that shows the events of something in chronological order.

I made a timeline to remind myself of a correspondence I had with an organisation.

Manual or electronic?

I use a pencil and paper to create some visual presentations of information e.g. spider diagrams; and a computer for others e.g. illustrated text.  If I’m presenting the information to others, I create an electronic version.

Further information

You’ll find a summary of this blog post here, along with some worked examples.

By a member of Dyslexia Scotland.


Published by Dyslexia Scotland

We encourage and enable people with dyslexia, regardless of their age and abilities, to reach their potential.

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