In Laura Foster’s article “Placement Matters! Textbook Art Placement” in the Fall 2019 edition of The Academic Author, she makes excellent points about the importance of art positioning in a textbook and the challenges to accomplish this. By placing art directly where students will “see” it when they need it, i.e. near the in-text callout, we support their learning. If the art is not immediately visible to them, they are less likely to reference it. Appropriate placement also supports instructors who wish to refer to the art during a classroom discussion. I thought I would take a moment to share my experience and solutions.
When your textbook moves from the manuscript phase to the production phase, your publisher’s composition team might have different ideas about where your figures and photos should be placed than what you had envisioned. What can you do (besides get angry) when your callout appears at the bottom of page 37 and the figure doesn’t appear until the bottom of page 38 after a page turn? Justify your requests with research! According to the Multimedia Principle, people learn more deeply from words and pictures than from words alone. For authors interested in the wealth of research that supports this, I highly recommend Richard Mayer’s book, Multimedia Learning, published by Cambridge University Press (2009).