A CRAPpy eye

Visuals, design and the eye

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” Or is it? Well there are some who would agree to the quote, whereas others would not. When I think about pictures in this context I think about cave drawings and even the ones done by Ancient Egyptians. Does that mean everyone reads pictures the same way? Of course not, each and every one of us have a different perspective, depending on how we look at it and then how we analyze it. And now how about ‘visual media’, does everyone see it the same way or differently? And what makes them perceive it in that way? If everyone communicates and interacts differently then what exactly constitutes a good design? Does it all come down to the ‘eye of the beholder’?


In Pre-K it is all about visual literacy. These three year olds are not ready or able to read words but they can very well read pictures. They gain knowledge by pretend-reading or picture-reading books. Our Word Wall is full of pictures under each alphabet. They can read graphs and charts, all because they are represented in pictures. And what appeals to them visually, appeals their hearts and understanding. And therefore our calendar is all about pictures rather than dates, which of course they could not relate to.

 class calendar

These kids cannot remember what happened on a certain date, but with the pictures they relate those activities and thus remember how their day or week went. The appealing power of the visual gives a stronger message to the student rather than the text or number in this case!

This fact is also mentioned in the article about preschoolers and brands 

“Learning to classify things by name is a deep part of learning language,” says Alison Gopnik, author of The Philosophical Baby.

The child might connect a word with a certain visual, even if it does not make sense to the adults around them. And that is why one of my student’s calls a ‘marker’ a ‘colol’. She has just sorted it into the category of colors and not markers.

I remember when my son was little he was very fascinated with the ‘Golden Arches’. Every time we passed one, he would want to go to McDonald’s – not for eating but for the play area. He had not yet learned to talk but he could definitely spot the visual and know that he could go there and have fun in the play area. He had associated the visual with his feelings of happiness.

Us as learners

We are visual learners, some more so than others. Personally, I consider text a part of visual learning. So learning by reading something, looking at pictures or infographics, even watching a video or by following someone’s example makes us visual learners. We are capturing information through our eyes first and then analyzing with our brains.

I was just thinking, Pinterest is a good resource for many but at times I feel overwhelmed because there are so many things on a single page that my eye sort of runs all over the place. UUGGGHHH!!! This might not be a good example since Pinterest is a website and I am thinking about changing the appearance of my blog.

So what matters now is…

I look at all the other CoETaIL blogs and I think how interesting and appealing they look. I tried to make a couple of changes to mine by following the videos posted by the instructors and ended up making a jumbled mess. I have been pulling my hair out since I am not tech-savvy. So what do I do now?! I want my blog to be eye-catching in a professional way so that anyone looking at it would want to know more and read more and maybe follow it too.

When I look at the design elements mentioned in the article by Dustin Wax, and think about my posts, am I using the techniques mentioned under contrast for my text? Uh… at times I use headings, other times…uh…What about repetition? Check! Alignment? Check! Proximity? Still working on that. I guess the foundation of my blog’s face is okay but how to take that one step forward and make it interesting? Well that’s the goal I’m working towards.

Design is about creating harmony among the elements and having them come together in a final product that is unequivocally outstanding.


Published by Rahila Mukaddam

A daughter, sister, wife, mom, teacher and a LEARNER!

Join the Conversation


  1. Rahila, “A picture is worth a thousand words” what a great quote to begin with.
    I completely agree, we all see things differently depending what “hooks” we are connecting to. If we are given a picture and one or two words then suddenly the meaning changes and possibly the viewpoint and interpretation becomes a more closely related. That is why I love this article: https://blog.slideshare.net/2015/05/05/redefining-your-bullet-points-turning-boring-into-visual/ It is not just about the redesign but it still keeps the key words, gets rid of the bullet points and excessive text. That way the interpretation should be more consistent across the board.

    It is so true that we learn to read, speak and organize as kids first with visuals and latter the words and text come. Often when reading text we still see the visuals in our minds. I like how your post is putting visual literacy back to the basics. Where everything begins.

    Your blog is looking good I like the blue and the way it is connecting to the header. Do you have a personal photo? That would work in the header for example something from the classroom or a cool texture/shadow? It would be lovely to see your photo on the right with the links to social media below. Designing is actually quite confusing because it changes depending on the media we use. Websites seem to work well with the alignment, simplicity, occasional bold/coloured font and less of the clutter. Yet we are often told to add the widgets for interest and information but I have been finding they look messy and cluttered so I have just removed mine and kept the essential ones. I was also playing with the design of my website a little, feel free to let me know what you think. https://www.coetail.com/rjardin/

    I like how you have broken up the text with headings, it was an easy and interesting read. Your title is catchy too. Well done. This is another great FREE resource for design too: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/design-secrets-revealed/id814087040?mt=11 it might help with the process and further understanding of CARP.

    1. Hi Rebecca,
      Thank you for your feedback regarding the post as well as my blog. Also thanks for sharing the informative links. I have been struggling with getting a good picture for the header since the beginning. I keep thinking of the bulletin boards in my classroom but then they’re mostly related to the unit and till now I have not been able to connect any to my CoETaIL learning journey.

      I love your blog’s clean look specially having your picture on the side gives the reader an opportunity to connect with the writer (you) visually. I guess it is like any other social media, Twitter for example, we may not know them personally but we connect because of something that caught our eye. And again for every individual it might be a different reason-perceptions!

      Your header picture also links to your profession as an art teacher. One of your links really interested me and that was your iPad Gallery. I am specially intrigued how you are using the SAMR in regards to integration into your teaching in the classroom. I have recently been able to get 6 iPads for my class. Right now my main usage is for Seesaw, but I am also thinking of using Nearpod with my preschoolers. Please don’t hesitate to share your ideas. Would love to hear what you have to say. My main aim is ‘authentic use by my students for a productive learning experience’.

  2. Thanks so much for your comments. I am keeping the iPad gallery up-to-date regularly with how I am using the iPads from creation to reflection. I know we have different age levels but I think many of the apps can be used across the board. Since you have 6 they could be used like stations. This is a great site https://www.ipadartroom.com/

    Thanks for your positive comments about my blog I really appreciate it. You very rarely get feedback on blog designs so this part of the course is awesome for that. Stay in touch!

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