I need to prepare a poster (67 x 97 cm) for the doctoral programme of an upcoming computer science conference. I am also presenting the paper in a talk at the main conference later on that week. I have not physically attended any big conferences during my PhD so far (due to covid) but have seen some hype around the BetterPoster idea of high-impact, low-clutter, attention-grabbing poster design. An interesting discussion of the pros and cons is here. I believe the BetterPoster trend came out of medical or lab-based science disciplines. Is this stripped-down, headlines-only design appropriate for a CS poster session?

My thinking is that if my poster is interesting enough, viewers will want to come to the full talk two days later and get more details. But on the other hand I don't want to be arrogant or showy.

  • 1
    "Of #betterposter, in particular, Trauth said that users' examples show that they are still putting too much information on their boards, but now also "wasting a lot of space on a central statement." That means there is much less space for "real content," he said." BetterPoster seems perfect for (already known) scientist meeting people full of cash. Yes, it is effective, but not for your target audience.
    – EarlGrey
    Jul 13, 2022 at 12:19
  • As the article makes clear there is no consensus at the moment. How to communicate at poster sessions is a cultural norm. I'm personally a fan of changing the norm because the traditional way is terribly inefficient, but since there is no consensus you should ask your advisor. Jul 13, 2022 at 12:50

1 Answer 1


If there is a physical poster session, it can be organized in two different ways. First, they might give you the opportunity to have a two-minute talk. (Times might vary.) This means you have to give the "elevator pitch". Then you can see whether anyone wants to talk to you as you stand next to the poster.

Second, they just put up the posters along the walls and aisles of a big conference room. You stand next to the poster. Some people will come around and look at the poster. Some of these will want to talk to you. From my experience, you are better off with the equivalent of the "elevator pitch" as the attendees will have difficulties processing all the information in the room. Conferences are physically draining (long sessions, jet-lag, exhausted by travel, your body not being used to the schedule, ...) so your observers are not going to be in the best shape. I would even suggest to have a technical report handy in case someone is really interested. A URL to a technical report is also useful.

In your case, you are giving a talk so the poster is a bit superfluous.

Poster sessions have various reasons. Conference organizers might want them in order to attract more attendees. They can be useful for making contacts for recruiting. Occasionally, you have time to talk shop with someone working on something related. Sometimes poster sessions are limited, sometimes the posters are up during the whole conference suggesting that you should spend your breaks hanging out near your poster in order to talk shop in case somebody else wants to. In all cases, I do not see how a difficult to read poster is useful.

TLTR: From my experience, overloading a poster with content is not helpful. Especially not in your case as you are already giving the talk.

  • "A URL to a technical report is also useful.": a slightly better approach might be, and one I have seen commonly used, is to put a decently sized QR code for the link on the poster.
    – GoodDeeds
    Jul 13, 2022 at 18:51

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