Online Strategies to Promote Business Goals

What is an infographic? It is a visual depiction of data or information that conveys its message clearly and quickly in a creative way. It is often poster-like, relying on images more than words, and has an intuitive flow.

The growth and success of infographics in recent years can be attributed, among other things, to two important facts. First, in today’s world we are inundated with information. Second, the majority of us are visual learners. By presenting information visually in an appealing way, infographics have advantages over text and traditional graph presentations.

One of my favorite examples is 13 Reasons Why Your Brain Craves Infographics designed by Neomam Studios.

13 Reasons Why Your Brain Craves Infographics

Click the image to go to a full version of the infographic

Not only is it a good example of a successful infographic, but it happens to be instructive about infographics. “Thirteen Reasons” was selected by Piktochart.com as one of the Top 10 Best Infographics of 2013.

It fits my criteria for a successful infographic, namely it:

  • Captures your attention
  • Quickly and clearly makes its point(s)
  • Presents facts and data fairly and accurately
  • Holds your attention through the entire message
  • Is share worthy & easy to share

Let’s look at each criterion.

Captures Your Attention. To draw attention, the infographic needs to be attractive and/or unique in its context. If in a predominantly text environment, the mere fact of using one or more colorful images may be enough to draw attention. If competing with other graphics or infographics, its clarity or simplicity may give it an advantage. Is there consistency in elements such as graphic style, color scheme, and use of type? Consistency can simplify a presentation, making it more appealing.

Makes Its Point(s) Quickly and Clearly. The elements used should help the reader not only understand but also visualize the data. Visualization not only speeds comprehension but aids with retention. The use of images and text should support each other. While the graphics typically convey the big picture, they may need to be refined by text to set up the context or pinpoint precise details. Consistency, mentioned previously, plays a role in helping the various elements to do their job efficiently.

Presents Facts and Data Fairly and Accurately. In my mind, a good infographic represents the facts fairly, without distortion. It also reveals the source of data or facts to the reader. After all, credibility is important for success.

Holds Your Attention. To be successful, the infographic must hold the reader’s attention until the message is extracted. To do that, it must be engaging. If you want to keep the readers to the end, it cannot be too complex or unduly lengthy.

Share-worthy and Easy to Share. While an infographic can be successful if just one reader gets the message, some use infographics for their potential to be shared. If you’ve done well with the previous criteria, it is likely that your infographic will be considered worthy of sharing. You can make it easy to share by providing share buttons.

Free Tools to Create Your Own Infographic

If you want to try your hand at creating your own infographics, there are tools available for free. Even the fee versions of these tools are a lot cheaper than buying high-end infographic software or hiring an expert. These are only a few of them:

Easel.ly
Easel.ly is an online application for building infographics and data visualizations from pre-designed themes or from a blank canvas. Customization is done by dragging and dropping selected design elements. Easel.ly provides a library of graphic elements that you can drag onto your canvas. You can also upload your own graphics. You are able to add and edit text of different styles, colors and sizes to your project. When your project is ready, you can download and save it as one of several formats. Easel.ly has been praised for its intuitive design and ease of use.
infogr.am
Infogr.am is an online tool for creating interactive charts, graphs and infographics. The infographics are created from pre-designed color schemes. You can add text, photos, graphics, charts, maps, or videos to your projects, too. With the free version you have some options for sharing your projects on social media, but downloads require an upgrade to the Pro version for a fee.
Piktochart
Piktochart allows you to create projects in these formats: Infographic, Report, Banner and Presentation. Within each format you can select from a number of predesigned editable templates or create your own from scratch. You can add photos or graphics, text, backgrounds, charts, lines, maps, or videos. You can select images from a Piktochart collection (which are rather limited in the free version) or upload your own graphics. You are able to download your Piktochart project but you need the Pro version if you want to option to remove the Piktochart watermark. All in all, this tool provides a good deal of design flexibility.
Visme
Visme (formerly EWC Presenter) is now in Beta release. It is an online application for building infographics, presentations and other interactive content. It offers an extensive selection of images and other assets to add to your project. You can download or share your project. Visme comes in the Basic version which is free but it will include Visme branding. There are two levels of upgrade versions which allow you to use your project without the Visme branding. The upgrades allow you to build more projects and offer more options for format, more storage capacity, and other options.
Why not try one or more?
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Susan Vaillancourt

Project Manager/Instructional Designer at CDT MicroGraphics, Inc.
Nineteen years experience in the field of eLearning, with emphasis on project management and instructional design. Management responsibilities have included planning, scheduling and directing all phases of project development, from needs analysis through testing and implementation, management of instructional design teams, and client liaison for custom development initiatives. Instructional design responsibilities have included design of eLearning courseware (Bloom’s Levels 1 through 4), design and development of job aids, operations and training manuals and adjunct materials, and development of curriculum and eLearning standards.

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