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Designing Virtual Posters

This year, in preparation for the virtual Undergraduate Research Showcase, students will design a poster to be uploaded to the #URS2020 digital platform. To ensure that all visitors to our showcase are able to access your slides, please read the information below carefully. We also highly encourage you to download one of the two Boise State poster templates found here.

Information on poster submissions was sent out to all presenters on April 1st. Check your email for more details.

Preparing your digital poster for #URS2020

General Format and Design

Format

In contrast to an oral presentation, a “poster” is a visual representation of the research project that must convey the essence of your message. In effect, it “talks” for the researcher. Using the virtual format, you will not be able to walk your audience through the poster, so make sure that it contains enough information for them to understand what your research is about. We highly encourage you to download one of the two Boise State poster templates found here (no permissions required for downloads). 

While posters are not uniform most generally include the following:

  • Title telling the name of the project, the people involved in the work, and their affiliation. The title should be large font, descriptive, and concise.
  • Abstract stating what you set out to do, how you have done it, the key results, and the main findings and conclusions.
  • Introduction that includes clear statements about the problem you are trying to solve, the new ideas or items you are trying to discover or create, or the proofs that you are trying to establish. Note the background work that has led up to the current status of your research of creative work in this area. These should then lead to the declaration of your specific project aims and objectives.
  • Theory or Methods section that explains the basis of the techniques that you are using or the procedures that you have adopted in your study. You should also state and justify any assumptions so that your results can be viewed in the proper context.
  • Results section that discusses the main findings of your investigation and their value.
  • Conclusions section that discusses the main findings of your investigation and their value.
  • Further Plans section that contains recommendations and thoughts about ow the work could be continued.  What kind of things could be done next? What are some possible long-term goals or outcomes?
  • Acknowledgements section that allows you to thank organizations that might have provided financial support of the individuals who donated time to help with the project.

Design

  • Keep the material simple and concise with plenty of clear white space.
  • Use colors sparingly to emphasize, differentiate, and add interest. (In general, it is better to keep the background light.)
  • Pictures, graphs, and charts can be helpful in communicating a message quickly. Equations should be kept to a minimum, be large enough to read, and accompanied by definitions to explain the significance of each variable.  Label any diagrams and drawings. Clipart may be used for interest as long as it’s not distracting.
  • Font size should be such that a reader can stand at a distance of 5 feet and read the text.
  • Use underlined text, bold face, italics, or combinations to emphasize words and phrases.
  • Proofread carefully. Spelling counts. (Typographical errors do not reflect well on credibility or the presenter.)
  • A poster is “the story” of your research. Hint:  Make draft versions of your poster sections and check them for mistakes, legibility, consistency in style, and various layout arrangements. Ask your mentor, professor, or peers to review to make sure it’s your best work.

Source: Utah State University (http://rgs.usu.edu/undergradresearch/present/)

Sharing your poster digitally

To ensure that all visitors to our showcase are able to access the information in the same way, please read the information below carefully. We also highly encourage you to use one of the two Boise State poster templates found here. 

Describe Images, Charts, and Graphs

Not all users can perceive images in the same way. Adding a short alternative text description allows all users to interpret the meaning of your images. For directions on adding alternative text in PowerPoint, see Add alternative text to a shape, picture, chart, SmartArt graphic, or other objects.

Use Accessible Colors

Having accessible colors on your poster ensures everyone can read your content easily. Use colors that have enough contrast between the background and foreground. You can check if your colors have enough contrast with a Contrast Checker like the one available from WebAIM or use one of the pre-designed templates available from Boise State.

Check Accessibility

Before saving your final draft, use the “Check Accessibility” feature in PowerPoint. Select FileCheck for IssuesCheck Accessibility and follow the recommendations in the report. Most likely this will include adding alt text to any images you may have missed.

Save your poster as a PowerPoint and PDF File

Save your final poster version as both a PowerPoint and PDF file. This way, users can choose which option works best for them.

Optional Video Reflection

Video Instructions Here!

We encourage poster presenters to include a short (max. 2 minutes) “selfie” video along with their poster. Videos can be captured with personal phones, tablet, computer, or point-and-shoot cameras. In your video, please address one of the three prompts listed below. Use the prompt’s guiding questions to help focus your video.

Prompt 1: Tell the story of your research process.

  • The traditional story structure has a beginning, middle, and end. As you think about your research experience, consider these questions:
  • Where or how, specifically, did your research begin?
  • What were some of the milestones or accomplishments along the way?
  • Where are you now? Is this the end of your work, or is it a step in a larger journey? Describe.

Prompt 2: The One Key Idea

  • Your research is full of important information, but what if your audience could only remember one key idea?
  • What’s the one thing that the audience must know about your work?

Prompt 3: Research Identity

  • We all have lots of identities (student, sibling, athlete, friend, etc). With the work you have done, you can now count researcher as one of your identities.
  • Who are you as a researcher? Describe.
  • What have you learned, and how have you grown through your research?
  • Describe yourself as a researcher in 3 words.

Videos should be no longer than 2 minutes.  

Video Instructions Here!

We encourage poster presenters to include a short (max. 2 minutes) “selfie” video along with their poster. Videos can be captured with personal phones, tablet, computer, or point-and-shoot cameras. In your video, please address one of the three prompts listed below. Use the prompt’s guiding questions to help focus your video.

Prompt 1: Tell the story of your research process.

  • The traditional story structure has a beginning, middle, and end. As you think about your research experience, consider these questions:
  • Where or how, specifically, did your research begin?
  • What were some of the milestones or accomplishments along the way?
  • Where are you now? Is this the end of your work, or is it a step in a larger journey? Describe.

Prompt 2: The One Key Idea

  • Your research is full of important information, but what if your audience could only remember one key idea?
  • What’s the one thing that the audience must know about your work?

Prompt 3: Research Identity

  • We all have lots of identities (student, sibling, athlete, friend, etc). With the work you have done, you can now count researcher as one of your identities.
  • Who are you as a researcher? Describe.
  • What have you learned, and how have you grown through your research?
  • Describe yourself as a researcher in 3 words.

Videos should be no longer than 2 minutes.