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Dana Huff
11 February 2009

Locate a visual (not a photograph) on a Web site and evaluate it using the guidelines/principles in this chapter. You should at a minimum discuss categories found in the Visual Design Checklist from your book. Your discussion should be at least one page in length. Please provide a link to the visual you are evaluating.


Lifecyle of a Frog from the Visual Dictionary.


frogs, life cycle, tadpole, amphibian


This image is an illustration or drawing with a moderate degree of realism. According to Smaldino, Lowther, and Russell (2008), the diagram falls in the range of realism that is most helpful to communicate the ideas in the image and to help the viewer learn the material in the image (p. 58). In addition, the image is a transformational visual showing the changes in the life cycle of a frog (Smaldino, Lowther, & Russell, 2008, pp. 59-60).



Exemplary. The diagram is arranged in a circle, a "familiar geometric pattern" (Smaldino, Lowther, & Russell, 2008, p. 62) and adheres to the "rule of thirds." For example, the adult frog "appears near the intersection of lines dividing the visual into thirds" (Smaldino, Lowther, & Russell, 2008, p. 63).


Exemplary. The relationships among the items to each other are clear. There is a sense that the elements are equally distributed on both sides of vertical and the horizontal axis (Smaldino, Lowther, & Russell, 2008, p. 64). However, there is a slight asymmetry in the bottom half of the diagram in which the images are small and eventually resolve counter-clockwise into larger images on the top. It does not appear imbalanced; rather the effect of informal balance makes the diagram more interesting (Smaldino, Lowther, & Russell, 2008, p. 64).


Exemplary. The colors chosen work well together. For example, the green of the frogs in the cycle is contrasted nicely with the red arrows demonstrating the direction of the cycle. Green and red are complementary colors, so the choice produces a nice color scheme. Red is also a good choice for the arrows because this "hot" color stands out against the background (Smaldino, Lowther, & Russell, 2008, p. 66). The brownish line representing earth is interesting too because of its elements of violet, which is an analogous color to the red. The lighter greens and grays used to portray plants and rocks to not distract from the most important elements in the picture: the frogs and the arrows. In addition, these accents are placed in such a way as to achieve an informal balance in the image.


Exemplary. The background is white and the text used is black, which is legible although not the most legible comibination possible; according to Smaldino, Lowther, and Russell (2008), the most legible combination is black letters on yellow background (p. 66), but I believe that combination would have distracted from the diagram and may even have made it harder to view the diagram.



Exemplary. The text is a sans serif style known as Arial, which works well "for straightforward informational or instructional purposes" on items used for "projected visuals" (Smaldino, Lowther, & Russell, 2008, p. 69). Two style types, all capitals and lower case letters, are used in the design. Smaldino, Lowther, and Russell (2008) recommend no more than four text variations in a display, and this diagram falls within the parameters of that recommendation (p. 69).


Exemplary. The spacing is appropriate: neither too cramped nor too disconnected. The text elements were clearly designed on a computer, which "automatically adjusted" the text spacing to "achieve maximum readability" (Smaldino, Lowther, & Russell, 2008, p. 69).


Exemplary. The text contrasts nicely with the background, which increases readability. The choice of black should not cause problems for individuals with color blindness.

Use of Capitals

Exemplary. A short headline appears in all capitals. Aside from this one element, capitals are used sparingly; lower case letters are used throughout the majority of the diagram.



Acceptable. The main element of surprise is the soft blurry line representing the earth, which demonstrates the point at which frogs become amphibious creatures. This line draws the eye and does not form a straight line. Aside from that element, the images are not unusual; however, because of the subject matter, the choice of a simple design is effective.


Acceptable. Texture is mainly achieved through the soft fading of the earth line in the image. The Web site's background appears slightly marbled, which also lends texture to the image without distracting the viewer. However, the image is two-dimensional and true texture is limited.


Poor. The diagram contains no interactive elements; however, it is still a very good diagram for helping learners visualize the subject matter of the frog's life cycle.


Smaldino, S. E., Lowther, D. L., & Russell, J.D. (2008). Instructional technology and media for learning (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill Prentice Hall.