Visual abstracts are a visual way, using illustrations, icons and flow-chart graphics to present the abstract of your research paper. They tend to provide this information in a single “slide”, relying more on imagery than on text to communicate the overall goal and outcomes of your research.
UF Health Communications has prepared a series of templates that will provide a starting point from which you can customize your own visual abstracts for publisher submission, social media posts and more. Note: if using these on social media, please ensure you provide a detailed alternative text (a written summary of the visual and text components), so those utilizing assistive devices are able to understand what content is being shared.
Each template contains an example along with a generic version you can use to integrate your own data.
Consider this 3-panel format to present three salient points.
Consider this 6-panel format to present context and/or intervention design with additional data.
Consider this format to present studies that show an “A vs. B” scenario. For instance, this template could be used to present “results vs. control” findings or “Drug A vs. Drug B” research.
Consider this three-part narrative format to present an overview of hypothesis, methodology and outcome, with summarization/key findings highlighted.
Consider this format to visually depict “A vs. B” treatments, while highlighting the research goal(s).
Libraries of royalty-free and Creative Commons licensed icons, illustrations, and other graphics.
- BioRender – create science figures
- Reactome – Library of icons for Enhanced High Level Diagrams (EHLD)
- The Noun Project – a large collection of general icons
- Bioicons – biology-based icons and illustrations
- SciDraw – free repository of high quality drawings useful for scientific presentations
- Servier Medical Art – 3,000 free medical images
- CDC – Public Health Image Library (PHIL)
- National Cancer Institute – Visuals Online
Visual Abstract Resources
Additional examples and guidance on how to create effective visual abstracts
- Visual Abstract Primer
- Elsevier – Graphical Abstracts
- The Annals of Thoracic Surgery – Visual Abstracts
- Arcia A, Suero-Tejeda N, Bales ME, et al. Sometimes more is more: iterative participatory design of infographics for engagement of community members with varying levels of health literacy. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2016;23:174-183.
- Atkinson C. Beyond Bullet Points, 4th ed. London: Pearson Education, 2018.
- Duarte N. Slide:ology. The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media, Inc, 2008.
- Duarte N. Resonate. Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2010.
- Ibrahim AM (ed). Use of a Visual Abstract to Disseminate Scientific Research, Version 4, January 2018.
- Ibrahim A, Lillemoe KD, Klingensmith ME, Dimick JB. Visual abstracts to disseminate research on social media: a prospective, case-control crossover study. Ann Surg. 2017;266(6):e46-e48.
- Lam J. When less is more: writing great copy for visual content.
- Lang T. Up and down or side by side: structuring comparisons in data tables. AMWA J. 2018;33(3):104-110.
- Levie WH, Lentz R. Effects of text illustrations: a review of research. Ed Comm Tech J. 1982;30(4):195-232.
- Martin LJ, Turnquist A, Groot B, et al. Exploring the role of infographics for summarizing medical literature. Health Prof Educ. 2018 March [in press].
- National Cancer Institute. Making Data Talk: A Workbook.
- Pernice K. F-shaped pattern of reading on the web: misunderstood but still relevant (even on mobile).
- University of Michigan. Visualizing health. A scientifically vetted style guide for communicating health data.
- Vogel DR, Dickson GW, Lehman JA. Persuasion and the role of visual presentation support: the UM/3M study. 1986.
- Weinreich H, Obendorf H, Herder E, Mayer M. Not quite the average: an empirical study of web use. ACM Transactions on the Web.2008;2(1):article 5.