Add images for impact

Don’t rely on words alone when you want people to pay attention to your message. Pictures increase the likelihood that they will read, understand and act on your instructions.

A study that compared different forms of instructions given to emergency room patients shows the powerful impact pictures have. One set of patients received written instructions only, and another set received the same instructions accompanied by cartoon drawings.

The people who received instructions with images:

  • Were more likely to read the instructions, 98% compared to 79% who received only text.
  • Understood better. When they were asked questions about the instructions, more than 45% received perfect scores. Just 6% of patients who received text only answered every question correctly.
  • Complied with directions. Only half of the text-only group followed the directions for daily wound care, compared to three-quarters of the group that had images too.

— Adapted from “See What I Mean,” Ann Wylie, Wylie Communications Inc.,

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