What Are Infographics And What Do They Do?
Infographics or information graphics are a visual representation on a web page which condenses large amounts of information into a form where the reader will more easily absorb it.
Clever designs that have meaning and send out a clear message to the reader are worth considering in your marketing campaigns. Infographics are graphic visual representations of data and information, and using them will enable you to present complex information in a quick, clear and precise manner.
Visualizing data through design and information architecture has become super popular and is an effective way of getting your message across. Didn’t the cavemen get their messages across OK?
Everyone loves anything image based, from movies and videos to animation and cartoons. We love this passive form of interaction – perhaps, a different type of action affiliate marketers are used to!
The Power of the Infographic – Why Does it Hold our Interest So Much?
It is organized, useful and highly relevant information that has been neatly packaged, or should I say designed in a clever way – to hold our interest for longer. We scan the content to extrapolate the data that we are interested in, while at the same time enjoying the graphics.
The reason it works SO well is that it’s a picture – and you’re familiar with the adage about a picture being worth a thousand words! Well, this picture also has words – often tens or hundreds of them!
If the information in the infographic was simply typed onto the page, would we take as much notice of the content? I don’t think so! We demand or seek the easiest possible way to absorb information – we’re lazy, and often want to be spoon-fed, and that’s not necessarily bad. We’re just too impatient or too busy to slow down and absorb written information!
This is where the infographic plays its part. Provided it is well-thought out, it makes sense and is neatly reproduced, we will lap up its contents – it’s rather like an image on steroids! It delivers its message right to the heart or head of the reader.
If you have a short attention span or don’t wish to read endless blocks of text, and many of us can identify with that, then an attractive image with graphics and text certainly does the trick perfectly.
When you read a lot of content on or offline, do you take in all of the words or not?
Are you are a bit of a daydreamer?
If so, there’s nothing wrong with that. But, if you find the retention of those words is causing you difficulties, then you need another method to help you understand what the content is all about.
This infographic below from Wyzowl shows that only 10% of people remember what they hear and 20% what they read. That’s quite an eye-opener!
However, 80% of people remember both what they see and do. And it’s not only that. They also learned that visuals are processed 60k times faster than text, and that 93% of communication is nonverbal.
Click image to see a larger version:
Original Infographics Stand the Test of Time
Some of the earlier examples include maps of various transit systems like the London Underground and the Washington Metro. Large amounts of information contained on these maps make it easy for the traveler to decipher where they are and where they have to go in an instant.
The flow from one terminal to another is clearly identifiable by the colorful graphics – standardized icons and stylized maps – distinguishing different train lines and terminals. Local landmarks and other information are also integrated.
The viewer can find and absorb more data quicker.
What an Infographic Should Display
Edward Tufte in his book, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information defines ‘graphical displays’ as such:
Graphical displays should:
- show the information & the data.
- encourage the viewer to think about the content rather than about the methodology, graphic design, the technology of graphic production or something else.
- avoid twisting what the data have to say.
- present loads of numbers in a small space.
- make large data sets comprehensive.
- encourage the eye to compare and decipher different bits of data.
- reveal the data at several levels of detail, from a broad overview to the fine structure.
- serve a reasonably clear purpose: description, exploration, tabulation or decoration.
- be closely integrated with the statistical and verbal descriptions of a data set.
Tools for the Creation of Infographics
Gone are the days of only using graph paper, pencils, markers, and rulers to create stylized graphic designs. Now the chosen method is often using computer software, which is faster and easier.
Programs like Adobe Illustrator or the open-source Inkscape can be used to create general illustrations, but if you want to build only infographics, then specialized sites and tools like Visually are good.
Software for creating diagrams and drawings can be downloaded to your desktop or used online. Some of them are:
With these, users can get started quickly with their diagrams by accessing various templates while collaboration between users is also possible online. Like most programs, the free versions give you a taste of what is on offer however; full upgrades include a more feature-rich experience.
Between 2010 and 2012, the volume of infographic searches increased by 800%. They have become a vital method of acquiring traffic, as well as educating clients in many companies.
While Gliffy offers an open platform, others such as Piktochart, provide one with templates, icons, and custom made designs in formats recognized by numerous internet publishers. e.g. many publishers expect infographics to be a standard 600 pixels wide, so that highly stylized fonts and images have plenty of layout space to appear in.
Piktochart are a step ahead as they publish infographics in an HTML format, which enables their infographics to be read by search engines. This feature used to be expensive to produce, requiring the skills of coders and developers to achieve, but is becoming far more widespread.
The Value of Data Visualization
This video shows the viewer some examples of why visualizing information can be easier to comprehend.
Communicating information becomes more difficult especially when trying to convey a message full of complex data. The motion graphic looks at some of the many visual techniques used by Column Five to communicate information effectively to a big audience.
Interpretation is made easier through data visualization & why data visualization is important.
Take an Excel or Google Drive spreadsheet and visualize the data – I don’t mean look at it in your mind, get it onto a graph or chart for analytical deciphering. Spreadsheets are often difficult to visualize because of the amount of mixed volumes of data, however when presented as an infographic the data becomes more user friendly.
The benefits to business organizations and decision makers of doing this are immense, like:
- Saving time and energy.
- Simplifying the data.
- Clarifying the factors.
- Identifying areas for improvement.
- Comprehending what factors influence the customer’s behavior.
- Predicting sales volumes.
- Discovering how to reduce costs and increase revenue.
The more I have become aware of the power of infographics, the more likely I am to use them in my posts. Do you have a favorite piece of visual content/infographic, and what is the most interesting one you have seen?
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