Can Images with Isolated Looped Motion or “Cinemagraphs” Improve Science Communication Design?

KHAN, FARHAT BASIR

Abstract

Science communication is not a new concept; scientists have been trying to communicate their scientific findings and theories to the general population for centuries. The communication meant for non-scientists is particularly complex, considering their limited understanding of the subject and weak grasp of certain concepts. Visual communication design has been used in the form of infographics, photographs and illustrations for the popularisation of science. The use of cinemagraphs or images with isolated looped motion could present an interesting option to communicators to convey focused visual messages. A survey was conducted to see if a group of students (n=120) and teachers (n=28) of a science & technology university saw any value in the use of cinemagraphs. The cinemagraph was deemed to be 42% more informative than the still image by the students and 29% more informative by the teachers. The participants also found the cinemagraphs to be more useful and attractive than the other formats. Different kinds of motions were defined in the cinemagraphs. participants preferred “small slow subtle motion”, “large intermittent motion” and “dispersed localized motion” over the still images and the videos by a wider margin. While making cinemagraphs, picking the right subject to highlight and using the right kind of motion can be used to improve focus and convey messages in a more attractive and useful manner and this could be crucial in improving science communication, especially for the non-scientists.

Keyword(s)

Science Communication; Visual Communication; Cinemagraph, Motion Image, Communication Design; Popularisation of Science

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