Suppose you go for a nice little hike in the woods. You take in nature’s sights and sounds, breathe in the fresh air. All is well – until your view is suddenly blocked by a giant sign. It’s staring you in the face, firing a bunch of information at you in a variety of colors. You’re overwhelmed (thanks to the ocean of data). Alarmed (that’s the red tint playing a little trick on your brain). Confused (hello, maze of words in four different languages). The million-dollar question: What on this sweet earth is this monstrous sign trying to tell you?

Unraveling the mystery

Let’s have a closer look at the sign (see picture above). Apparently, it has something to do with the African swine fever. All right, red flag. So far, you get it. Now it gets tricky, though. The sign is clearly not there with the sole purpose of frightening you. Passersby are supposed to digest this information and do something with it. But what?

Although there are way too many words on the sign, you’ll learn something if you take the time to read them: you shouldn’t litter the woods with food scraps that will fuel the appetite of the average swine, especially not if you’ve just consumed a hamburger or cutlet (we think – the food depictions are up for debate). The problem is, this raises more questions than answers. For example, what about lollipops and sandwiches – which, by the way, are much more logical choices for a day in the woods? And what’s with all the images that don’t add any value but do cause a lot of confusion?

Trim it down big time

When it comes to conveying your message in a visual way, here’s your rule of thumb: less is more. So, be lean and mean. Want proof? Just imagine how much better this sign would have looked if it only contained two things: the phrase “Prevent African swine fever” and one clear visual clarifying that people shouldn’t throw away any food scraps. It would leave no room for interpretation, spurring people to take the desired action.

Do we need to explain how this applies to Visual Management? We didn’t think so. But you might want to read why filtering is an art in its own right.

Want to fill your ‘data canvas’ with well-chosen, actionable information? Please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d be happy to perform a Quick Scan and discuss your Visual Management opportunities.