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The Picture Superiority Effect (PSE)

Comments (0) Copywriting & Content, Information Architecture, User Interface

We remember items observed as pictures better than those we observe as words, especially when recalled at a later date. However the image does need to be relevant to the content.

“Based on research into the Picture Superiority Effect, when we read text alone, we are likely to remember only 10 percent of the information 3 days later. If that information is presented to us as text combined with a relevant image, we are likely to remember 65 percent of the information 3 days later.”

John Medina, Brain Rules, 2008

In UX design we use icons to represent concepts and actions in menus, these representations are easier to remember and express when demonstrated as images and a text label, over just a text label.

Recall percentages for text, image, and text and image, after 72 hours

We also see the Picture Superiority Effect used by designers of infographics, who use simple imagery to aid the memorability of the information they are communicating.

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