Visuals Matter!: Designing and Using Effective Visual Representations to Support Project and Portfolio Decisions

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Visuals are everywhere today—in offices and factories, in documents and online. They represent a powerful way to communicate and explain products, processes, and other key aspects of business. Done well, visuals can even have a profound influence on people’s decisions—such as whether or not to buy a particular product.

Despite the vital role visuals play in modern life, very little research has been done to examine just how they work and how they influence our actions and decisions. Few managers know much about the way people interact with visuals, both consciously and subconsciously. As a result, most managers are likely failing to take advantage of the potential visuals offer to support, grow, and sustain their businesses. Having a better understanding of what’s going on and what the options are can often help prevent bad decisions, and well-designed, properly used visuals can go a long way toward helping executives and other stakeholders make the best decisions possible.

In Visuals Matter!, the result of a two-year research project funded by the Project Management Institute and University College London, authors Joana Geraldi and Mario Arlt explore the impact of visuals on cognition and communication in project portfolio decisions. Their goal is to increase project practitioners’ and scholars’ awareness about how important visuals can be and to provide guidance on how visuals can be used and designed to enhance business.