What Makes the Perfect ePoster for a Scientific Congress?

Paper posters and poster presentations have always been an useful way of producing succinct summaries of research at academic conferences and scientific congresses. The poster is the essence of an idea, a concept, a project, or a whole theoretical reasoning where the arguments are turned into brief statements. Posters can be a very effective means of conveying information. In a scientific forum, they make it possible to simultaneously and interactively expose the projects, results and ideas from one or more authors to a very large audience.

Making a poster means filtering, purifying, organizing, analyzing and presenting  information in a enjoyable and effective way to assure that it is immediately assimilated and understood by the person who is looking at it. Thus, the visual aspects must be above those of abstract character such as letters or numbers, and it is recommended to not include more than 700 words spread thorough the poster. Words or numbers must be accurate and conclusive to the information that they want to express. Posters need to make the retention of the information easier by using few words, and such words have to be short, easy to remember and understandable by the audience.

A recent development in this area has been the electronic poster, also known as e-poster.  Conferences are increasingly utilising the e-poster format in several fields, specially in science and medicine. An e-poster is an electronic poster shown through smart screens which are available at the venue of the event. Since they are not static sheets anymore, they are a more engaging and informative resource where they authors can use hyperlinks, audio, video or enlarged graphics to explain the results of their research project in a more attractive way.

How to create an ePoster

There is plenty of information on how to make paper posters, but finding guides to create e-posters is not that easy. E-posters are a quite recent development, so there is no specific industry standard software used to create and display ePosters yet. There are several options when it comes to create your own.  You can either project a previously-designed PowerPoint or PDF file onto a screen, or you can use special software tools such as https://www.postersessiononline.com/eposters/ to design and upload your ePoster. PosterSessionOnline are poster specialists with 15 years’ experience of handling posters at more than 400 congresses worldwide. Their constant drive to improve your poster session has led them to develop the world’s most sophisticated and reliable poster platform.

This kind of platforms help authors to create professional eposters, which they then submit via the branded poster submission micro-site -embedded within the congress website. About 3 months prior to the congress, authors design and upload their posters, but they can also do it during the event and after it. The platforms offer a full range of poster session management solutions, including electronic-only with touch or plasma screens, standard PCs, iPads / tablets or laptops. They can handle the full-service including software, poster-building support and on-site supervisor – with or without hardware. Most of them also provide onsite staff and technical support to assist authors in uploading ePosters during the meeting.

The perfect ePoster

The relationship of the authors with the audience has changed with ePosters, because the oral presentation of the poster’s content is not the most important element anymore. On the contrary, the most important part of the poster experience happens when you walk away, and the audience changes from passive receivers into active participants when they explore the depths of the poster by themselves.

The opening page of the ePoster is what draws their attention, but is not the complete poster. It shouldn’t be a static sheet on a screen, but a more engaging and informative resource where you can use hyperlinks, audio, video or enlarged graphics to explain the results of your research project. However, this first page needs to be a dynamic contents page which invites the attendee to notice the real value of the poster with all the mixed media that lie behind the flat front piece.  

In this regard, it is best to start with the conclusion instead of with the introduction, because by doing so you can capture the interest of the person from the first minute and quickly screen interested readers. A conclusion specifically adapted to the interests of the target audience encourages curiosity and prevents anyone who is not interested in the content of the ePoster from obstructing access to those who are. Concerning to visual appeal, all posters should be of high graphic quality in order to reduce the likely resistance to reading the text displayed.  To do this, you have to play with striking shapes and colors and catchy pictures.

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