Visual aid can be simple

Start with a pencil.

Language Barrier

How to create a Visual aid for an abstract idea

Visual learners or people with a language barrier may be missing out on information simply because of the lack of visual resources.

Let’s start with a few definitions to understand what we are looking for:

What is a visual aid?
Visual aid is any of various materials depending on the sense of sight, as films, slides, photographs, etc., used as aids in teaching. Dictionary.com

What is an idea?
Any conception existing in the mind as a result of mental understanding, awareness, or activity. Dictionary.com 

What is an abstract idea?
“The simple answer is that an abstract idea, like honour, freedom, beauty and evil, is one that cannot be illustrated by a concrete object”. William Smith – Quora.com

So we may be looking for something like this:
Visual aid for an abstract idea is a visual representation of an idea that cannot be illustrated by a concrete object, designed to supplement written or spoken information so that it can be understood more easily.

5 Steps to creating a visual aid for an abstract idea

1. Write down the essence of your idea.
Example: Mindfulness – in essence, is an acceptance of a present moment.

2. Describe your idea; action, feelings…
Example: Practice by meditation and breathing. What do you do? – inhale and exhale.

3. Draw or take several pictures that you think represent your idea.
Example: It means we could represent the idea of Mindfulness by the contrast between a stressed and relaxed person and by visual instruction; inhale and exhale.

4. Find a model for your visual aid.
If you decide that you need a model (human, animal), you will need a description. It will help you create a picture of a model for your visuals.
Your model can be real or fictitious, as long as he or she fits your description.

5. Find a style for your visual aid.
Visual aid is not fine art. You don’t have to worry about the beauty of your artwork.
The style of the visual aid will depend on the age, cultural background and other factors of the people you want to reach, just like with your spoken or written word. It may take some time to test the style of your visuals. The best visual is always the one that your audience likes best.
Test and edit your images according to the feedback of the people you are targeting with your message.

*Test with your audience at every stage, and edit, especially before your final design.

Summary:

  1. Get the essence of your idea
  2. Describe the action, feelings associated with this idea
  3. Draw or take several pictures
  4. Find a model
  5. Find a style