Getting the most out of a conference poster presentation

I really like this article on the ten simple rules for a good poster presentation.  I used some of these ideas to my advantage at the recent ISMB/ECCB 2013 conference in Berlin (19-13 July 2013), where I presented a poster on the EMBL-EBI website redesign.

ten rules poster presentation
PLoS Computational Biology article on the ten rules for a good poster presentation


The article helps you think of ways to improve interaction at your poster

Ideally, you can make your poster work for you, even when you’re not standing next to it.  Ways to do this are things like:

  • having a sign-up sheet so you can follow up with interested delegates later
  • having small hand-outs of the poster
  • sticking up some of your business cards (I recommend that these feature your twitter id and blog address, if you have one)
  • posting up messages to say when and where you are speaking, if you have a talk as well as a poster, or even where you can usually be found in person, such as at the coffee stand, where you sit in talks, etc.

I found putting these things by my poster helpful since it was such a packed programme

It was hard to find time to speak to people for long during the breaks, so by having these prompts at the poster, people registered an interest in my work and posted comments/questions.  Then I emailed/LinkedIn all the folks when I got back to the office, when things were quieter.

poster at ISMB
My poster set up for ISMB/ECCB 2013 featuring sign-up sheet, hand-outs, business cards and sharpie pen.

What I will consider doing next time…

The ten simple rules article was published in 2007 so things have moved on a lot since then.  For example, I would consider having some additional things at my poster next time.  (Some of the other ISMB posters had these and inspired me…)

QR code

A large QR code – at the right height –  is a great idea, so people can just scan it and have your webpage straight away – no writing or sharing business cards needed.

Augmented reality

A Sanger Institute poster had further stuff for readers to explore using augmented reality.  See the top right hand corner, where it says you should download the ‘Layar’ app to view it.


A poster featuring augmented reality
A poster featuring augmented reality from ISMB/ECCB 2013

3D stuff related to the poster

One poster had a 3D model of a protein hanging down in front of it – so you could more easily perceive the structure.  This was a nice idea, but not sure yet how I could use it for UX stuff.  I’ll think on it.

Lots of sketchnote hand-outs

I gave a talk at ISMB as well as a poster session, but several delegates said that they had missed the talk when I saw them at the poster.  It would have been useful to have the sketchnote of my talk (below) to give them at the poster, but I had ran out of copies and didn’t think to put any by the poster.  I will do this next time!

Sketchnote for my ISMB conference talk
Sketchnote for my ISMB conference talk (sketched by Francis Rowland)

Interesting links

More sketchnotes

My Flickr page for more Sketchnotes

Flickr page by my colleague Francis Rowland

Conference links

ISMB/ECCB 2013 conference site

The next conference I will be speaking at: UX Cambridge  (no poster though!)

User Experience link

EBI Interfaces – a User Experience interest blog hosted at EMBL-EBI


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s