Why Is "Getting Visual" So Critically Important?
This question can be answered with 4 simple words:
Humans are visual creatures.
Seems all too simple...doesn't it?
Well, if you need to know a little more about the science of why we are so hung up on the beauty that our eyes behold, here are 5 reasons you need to put images in your customers' brains to help them remember you.
1. Half of the human brain is directly or indirectly devoted to processing visual information.
The eye’s retina, which contains 150 million light-sensitive rod and cone cells, is actually an outgrowth of the brain. In the brain itself, there are hundreds of millions of neurons devoted to visual processing. And, these neurons take up about 30 % of the cortex, which is a much larger percentage than touch (8%) or hearing (3%). It also doesn't hurt that each of the two optic nerves, which carry signals from the retina to the brain, consists of a million fibers.
2. The brain can identify images seen for as little as 13 milliseconds.
The brain must continually work to decide where to focus the eyes. The eyes dart from point to point in quick fixations at a rate of about 3 fixations per second. Deciding where to move the eyes next takes about 100 milliseconds or so (1/10 of a second). So, the brain must be able to quickly process the field of view to know where to look next.
3. An estimated 65-80% of people are “visual learners”.
This 65% estimation comes from a research study on engineering students by Dr. Richard Felder in the 1980s, which later became a foundation for a standardized test called the Index of Learning Styles (ILS). The ILS sorts learners according to several different spectra, including visual-verbal. Subsequent studies have estimated that the proportion of visual learners to other learning styles is even higher, some as high as 80%, depending on the categories of learning styles used and the methodology of the study.
4. Humans have a remarkable ability to remember pictures.
People can remember more than 2000 pictures with at least 90 % accuracy in recognition tests over a period of several days. This excellent memory for pictures consistently exceeds our ability to remember words. The reason why the picture memory is superior may be that pictures automatically engage multiple representations and associations with other knowledge about the world, which results in more elaborate encoding on our brains than occurs with words.
5. Presentations using visual aids were found to be 43 % more persuasive than unaided presentations.
Back in 1986, researchers from the University of Minnesota studied how presentations are improved by visual support. They attempted to persuade people using various presentations employing different forms of visual support (color vs. black and white; plain text vs. “clip art” and graphs). Overall, the presentations using visual support were found to be 43 % more persuasive.
Additionally, visual support was found to improve the perception of the presenter. Presenters were described as being more concise, clearer, making better use of supporting data, more professional, more persuasive, and more interesting when they made good use of visual aids like photos, graphs, etc.