How to visualize abstract concepts

Dec 23, 2016


I am creating an eLearning that contains information about Authorizations and Captures of online payments.  Not the most exciting material, but important for my company. 

Instead of using text only or flow charts, I would like to use as many images as possible.  I am having issues finding appropriate images, however.  The images we use in our eLearning modules are supposed to be photos, not graphics or clip art.  I've used a couple photos of people on laptops, mobile devices, desktops, etc, but I'm wanting something a little more specific to authorizations.

Any suggestions on visuals for authorizations?  I did a search on Google for Authorizations under Images and 99% of the results are flow charts. 



4 Replies
Dave Ferguson

I'm assuming there are stages to the authorization and capture process as there are in the pension industry, where I work. (Maybe authorization and capture are two separate but related processes, but I'm sure each has stages.)

One thought is to find a single photo image, perhaps not a literal one (so, not an image of some authorization document) and divide it into sections corresponding to the major stages. Blur, dim, or mask all but the first section for stage one; unblur the second section as you move on to stage two, and so on.

Another approach: Can you identify some recognizeable, non-authorization process that people are familiar with, and use (say) five small images from that process as visual anchors for the (imagined) five stages of your process?

Here's an off-the-cuff example: a simplified list of the stages for retirement, with possible images related to an airline trip. (This is a low-key way to use the "new journey" theme.)

Stage 1: review personal information.
Image: a passport page or driver's license.

Stage 2: choose pension option.
Image: screen shot of airline flights, or detail from departure board.

Stage 3: choose retirement beneficiaries.
Image: photograph-style or phone-photo-style picture of a person who's plausibly the spouse of a retiree.

Stage 4: choose benefits.
Image: airline-style options like seat upgrade or meals.

Stage 5: provide payment information (in our business, this means "where do you want us to send the cheque?")
Image: bank building, personal cheque, similar.

I can see these as standalone images (new one replacing old one as you go along, or all in a line, like a filmstrip, with each one lighting up as the course unfolds.

Melanie Chin

Thanks for all of the suggestions.  We have an entire elearning module on the authorization and settlement process, so we use step-by-step visuals in that one. 

For the specific module that I am working on right now, we don't need to explain all of the steps again.  On one slide, we refer to an authorization on an online purchase.  I want to use an image that conveys that the authorization was approved.  The image of a person using a laptop that I am using now, doesn't quite work. 

I like the idea of using the green light or "approved" stamp.  I'll have the laptop image merge into one of those when we talk about the approval. 


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