Design Principles: Spacial Contiguity
The second in a series of seven
In this second post in a new series, we take a look a closer look the second design principle, as researched by Prof RE Mayer, J Sweller et al.
This principle, known as Spacial Contiguity, simply says that words and illustrations relating to one another are better understood if positioned close together.
If, for example, you're annotating a group photograph in your presentation, position names as close to the people to whom they belong. Annotate charts clearly, so people can resolve an image and its associated explanation easily. As simple as this sounds, it's a rule that's frequently broken - for example, a diagram on one page of a document and the associated explanation on the following page. The reader has to flick pages back and forth to understand what's going on.
When you're creating a business proposal make sure you position diagrams close to text that refers to it. If you mention a diagram on one page, and then expect the reader to flick several pages to find it, then they'll most likely disengage.