Modern times currently rests in a giant chasm of communicative understanding, or lack of understanding- half the world wants words, the other half wants pictures ( I am reminded of a quote by the Spanish philosopher, Baltasar Gracián: “Half the world laughs at the other half, though all are fools). The divide can be called generational, it can be called left brain vs. right brain, it can be called a number of things…but it should be called typical.
These types of shifts are common across a variety of spectrums, but with the introduction of the Internet, and intensified by social sharing, communication has burst through barriers at break neck speeds. Languages have become less foreign, response time has shortened, and productivity seemingly has sped up. However, with this progression has come a few pitfalls- such as the dichotomy between words and pictures.
Although trends seem to settle themselves in time, many people out there are wondering how to combat this copy vs content split. The simplest answer would be to incorporate both equally, with emphasis being on specific sectors within your audience or the audience you are trying to reach. Overall, younger audiences respond best to visuals, but having concise copy to go along with the content is undeniably valuable. Further, audiences within highly technical fields, will always be more responsive to in depth written copy, but will also be better engaged with some high quality visuals that supplement the copy.
There is no perfect answer, and it is frustrating because in a world with so many communication technologies available, it can seem harder than ever to connect and engage the audience. Don’t let yourself get down, be creative and adaptive, implement some experimentation and A/B testing to gather effectiveness- much of response and engagement can be quantitated and tracked, which provides real numbers to build upon. Other times, one must rely on their own perceptive awareness to judge effectiveness.
Overall, it seems that people as a whole are becoming more visual learners, the inevitable result of technological advancements that require us to adapt and process things faster, even if we can’t retain as much in the long run. Therefore, any entity who wishes to stay in tune with the rhythms of society, should pay attention to this communication shift and be willing to adapt in order to fit with it.
Know Your Audience.