Over the past year, virtual posters (or ePosters) have been one of the biggest pivots that presenters have had to make. Not only have speakers have had to shift their presentations online this year, they also have continued to share and disseminate information post-conference. At Precis, we were prepared for this shift when it happened early last year and, since then, we’ve improved the user experience for creating virtual posters that appeal to audiences.
Be Upfront and Clear About the Formatting Guidelines of Your Organization
One of the biggest–and most time-consuming mistakes–presenters can make is to create a virtual poster from scratch without double-checking on the formatting specifications. Many organizations provide templates and, even if they do not, they usually provide specific parameters for how to format posters for virtual conferencing.
That being said, if organizations do not clearly and repeatedly communicate those guidelines, it can cause a headache for both the presenter and the organization.
Sizing issues, in particular, can be one of the biggest headaches to try to correct. A print poster is rarely sized with the same dimensions as an ePoster. For instance, print posters have a 3:4 width-to-height ratio while virtual posters have a 16:9 ratio to optimize for most mobile devices and laptop screens.
In brief, before you begin organizing any content or graphics, send out specific communications about where to download you organization’s poster templates or specifications.
Be Sure Virtual Posters Convey Information With Clear Visuals
This may seem to go without saying, but it is actually very common for presenters to crowd too much text on their ePosters. Less is more and clear data representations are the difference between making your point or confusing it.
For this reason, event organizers should emphasize to their presenters the importance of creating clear and dynamic data visualizations that translate both on and offline. The presenter should realize their presentation should provide more context to the visuals–not be one in the same with the poster.
To communicate this ask, encourage your presenters to think of what information could be better conveyed visually and how (pie chart, graph, flowchart, etc.) and then explain that information in their presentation. Especially with virtual conferencing, it is critical for them to identify this information before they start designing because people can only process so much on their screens.
Once they’ve decided on their visuals, be sure that they do not want to exceed 50-75 words per figure and letters should be in large, readable fonts so that they can easily be read up close or from a few feet away.
Enhance ePosters with Video or Audio
Adding video or audio to virtual posters accomplished two goals. The first allows for presenters to make a clear and concise introduction or overview to the information they are presenting. The second allows them to provide a more robust informational support for participants to refer to at a later time.
In some cases, presenters will also be judged on their presentations in conjunction with the materials they provide. Having professional video and audio production enhances the presentation of their work.
Provide Examples From Past Conferences and Events
The easiest way to create consistency and quality for your event is to provide the best ePosters examples from past events to your presenters. If your event is new (or if this is the first year that you are attempting virtual posters), find examples online or create a one-sheet mock-up. Even if you don’t have an in-house design team, you can easily do this for free or cheaply on sites such as Canva and Venngage.
In addition to providing specs and recommendations, your organization should also provide branding assets (such as your logo, typefaces, colors, etc.) to provide consistency across presentations.
Remember That Virtual Posters Are Both Education and Marketing Tools
By creating clear and actionable rules and guidelines for your presenters’ ePosters, you can create added educational value to participants as well as generate marketing materials for your events in the future. When presenters understand the expectations for their visual supporting materials, they will most likely create better and more engaging ones.
Ultimately, taking the time to provide a style guide, suggestions to enhance their posters, and assets such as your organization’s branding, you can help create a more streamlined and professional event.