Visual literacy in community communication: pretesting nutrition education materials for elderly caregivers in Boipatong



Media & Communications Design


  • visual communication, cultural influence

The paper deals with issues and concerns relating to the process of pre-­‐testing visual  illustrations used in educational material in a community communication setting.

The first part of the paper discusses  how selected aspects of nutrition education materials meant for elderly care givers in Boipatong  were pre-­‐tested using questionnaires (n=55) and focus group discussions in order to establish the  target group’s views and opinions about different types of visual illustration approaches. The  information was subsequently used to guide the production of a visually illustrated nutrition  education booklet, which was distributed free of charge in the community as part of a nutrition  education intervention.

The second part of the paper deals primarily with the focus group  discussions, in which a total of 15 care-­‐givers participated. The focus group discussions aimed  to augment the questionnaire data, especially with regard to

  1. the role of the visual images,
  2. the comprehension of the visual messages, as well as
  3. the appeal of the illustrations.

Central  themes in the focus group transcripts are that the visual component of the nutrition education  materials plays a very important role and that the participants regard the nutrition education  booklet as essential for their work as  care givers. The findings confirm the importance of empirically pre-­‐testing educational materials  as thoroughly  as possible in order to ensure a final product that meets the needs of the specific target  community.

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