RE: Can visual tools help evaluators communicate and engage better? | Eval Forward

Thanks Harriet for sharing all these tools. Really useful!

However...  a friendly warning. 
Using visuals is not just about tools. Visuals are an attitude; they are languages with rules and challenges.
Just as having access to "Word" (and other word processors) does not guarantee you can write effectively, using visual tools does not ensure good visual communication.

Unfortunately, in our world, visuals are just an add-on. 
Writing is the default; then, we can add a cute visual.
And in many cases, such visuals are bad, possibly harmful.

I remember pointing out to some colleagues that their visuals had challenges and that they could be misinterpreted.
And they just shrugged their shoulders, not seeing the issue.
"It is just a graph; why do you worry so much about petty details?"
These colleagues would be anal about a wrong comma in their text, yet they shared visuals contradicting their messages without caring, without even seeing the point.

So... by all means, try to become conversant with visuals.
But take the time to learn the language, ask for feedback, and be humble.
We do need more languages - beyond the written one - in evaluation.
But there is a vicious cycle: because now the written word is predominant, experts and practitioners are predominantly "writers and readers" and might resist other languages.
Visuals are cute, but what matters is a written report. So it is predominantly writing people that will be enrolled.
This is a major issue, blocking appropriation by people with different communication preferences and leading to ineffectively sharing messages that would be better shared visually, theatrically, or in other languages.

And, if you think that "nice, but if it is not written in words, it is not reliable, credible, acceptable..."  you are part of the problem! :-)

So... be inspired by the great tools and resources shared by Harried (thanks!), and explore visuals. But do remember that they are not an add-on.

They are a needed language to master but challenging to use well! :-)