Infographics: The BETTER Effects of The BIGGER Picture!

Adding images and graphics to online content has been popular forever. A lot of new-age content online is now completely done by way of ‘infographics’. So what are these infographics? To put it really simply, it is ‘Information represented in the form of graphics’. These are used mostly when a lot of complex information is required to be explained effectively and quickly. On a abstract level, they are a very thought out way of organizing information, evoking thought, while keeping it all looking very pretty!

Infographics are being used in a huge number of online discourses.They are increasingly changing the way people look & find information online. The blogosphere is using this tool extensively not only to communicate data that could otherwise be perceived as dry but also to make facts and stories more engaging and sticky. In times where making content ‘viral’ is the key to spread ideas (and ‘up’ your popularity quotient), infographics put the power back in the hands of content-creators. And with the boom in all things social media, they have great potential to go viral.

So, what elements make up an infographic:

  • images, images, images… those that are subject matter specific
  • colours and fonts that complement the content and your style
  • charts/graphs (keep them simple)
  • …and the all-encompassing compelling content!

For far too long, beautiful infographics required a lot of time to create, but over the past few years things have changed dramatically and for the good. A good visualization no longer needs expensive software, or the most refined of design skills with software like Photoshop. There are lots of free and cheap tools that help you enter complex data, select designs and generate professional visualizations in minutes. There are also many companies that you can outsource your infographics to. Column Five media is one such company that has a whole host of options. They now have a free iPad app as well!

There are also, huge databases of infographics on Internet databases for Visualizations like Visua.ly where you can search and take permission to link to already existing graphics
that are relevant or compliment your content. They are used in various
scenarios:

  • For communicating messages that have multiple layers
  • For showcasing statistics with minimalist explanations by aide of graphics
  • For presenting complex data in a comprehensive and summary-like way
  • For timelines that show an event or process
  • For showing case and effect relationships between scenarios
  • For conveying information about products and services
  • For showing progression and digression in trends

Here are some quick Tips for making effective infographics:

  • Filter your information. The key is to decide what information you want to keep and what you could do without. Chose the important bits of information that you feel will draw the attention of your readers. The average attention span these days is limited. So, you want to be able to communicate the most critical information in the best possible way and in the shortest possible time. Here is a quick tip for visual information: ‘slice it up’, ‘slice it further’, ‘slice it a bit more’,
    ‘slice it slightly more’… ‘spice it up’!
  • Charts, diagrams, illustrations, images, are all creative tools that go work well even otherwise dry topics. Mix-it up a bit, and don’t be afraid to experiment with colours and fonts.
  • Always leave resources for your readers to be able to verify the information that you are giving. It is good practice to cite your sources for elements like data and figures in your infographics.
  • Last, but not the least, keep it simple and clean. In this age of over-doze of information, you want to be able to give out concise information, with a clean layout that is easy on the eyes and minds of your readers.

There is a host of stuff online to derive inspiration from: From the simple, to the slick, to the rather fun ones!

It is quite simple. Try and work towards evoking emotion: curiosity, amazement, fascination
or enthusiasm. The aim with good infographics is to tickle the senses of your readers! Get started and you’ll be flooded with ‘likes’ and ‘tweets’ in no time! :)

This blog post is written by Deepti Sachdeva, Production Manager, Films & Digital, Be Learning