Advancing the Value of Ethnography

Tutorial: Visualization Principles for Talking Less and Communicating More


Cite this article:

2017 EPIC Proceedings, ISSN 1559-8918,


A simple understanding of the principles of good information and visualization design can help in the presentation, comprehension, and socialization of your research insights and recommendations. ‘Simple’ means a point of view that the aesthetics of your deliverables should never say “look at me” but rather support content by saying “look at this.”

This tutorial will give you a foundational understanding of good design techniques for creating clear and impactful research stimulus and reporting. The session is tailored for researchers with little or no design experience looking to improve their visual design skills, create impact by communicating visually, and build empathy with your designers and design teams.

Using examples and case studies from professional practice as inspiration, this course will expose participants to a variety of topics, all relevant to their professional practice:

  • Emphasizing the user voice in storytelling
  • Using typography to set tone and importance
  • Creating a hierarchy of information for clarity and understandability
  • Using imagery as a strategic tool
  • Laying out qualitative and quantitative content
  • Building a grid for pacing and story flow
  • Designing for your audience

The video includes only the presentation portions of the tutorial.

Robert Zolna is a researcher, educator, and designer currently teaching and practicing in Chicago. As former Associate Partner and Director of Visual Communication at gravitytank, he has extensive experience visualizing research and strategy for Fortune 50 clients in consumer goods, electronics, healthcare, and hospitality. Robert completed his graduate degree in Human-Centered Communication Design at IIT/Institute of Design in Chicago and is now teaching the next generation of design researchers how to talk less but communicate more at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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