Infographics are what could be described as parcels of information. They are image files that are usually laid out with some sort of narrative in mind.
Usually they are used to display a lot of facts that would come across as dry if they were set out in a textual list. Infographics are a new idea that has mixed social media with Google’s new image indexing changes. It used to be that information given by text was notoriously difficult to index on Google.
This would mean they would be (almost) impossible to find via a search engine. They can now be found on the Infographic social media site (and others), as well as being found attached to web pages, which you can research via Google. Here are a few tips and secrets so that you can create good Infographics yourself.
Use big graphics and pictures on your Infographics
You do not want your Infographic to look like it is optimized for the idiot, and you want intelligent people to look at it too, instead of just casual browsers and dumb-dumbs. With this in mind, you may be tempted to create Infographics that look like book pages, but that would be a massive mistake.
Infographics are a new online animal, and you cannot apply old prejudices to new concepts. If you were to write a book and fill it with pictures then you may appeal to casual browsers and less intelligent people; you may even put intelligent readers off. But this does not apply to Infographics. They need large graphics and pictures because they will be ignored if they are absent.
Many Infographics will appear on pages with many other Infographics. The Infographics are small and the user is encouraged to pick the one that he/she thinks is relevant. The users always pick the ones with the biggest pictures and graphics because the writing on the preview images is often too small to read.
Put statistics and percentages in larger fonts
You must do this for the same reason that you put large graphics and images on your Infographic. Many people search for Infographics and look at pages with lots of little previews of Infographics. The ones that have large lettering statistics on their website are easier to see, and therefore are more likely to be read.
You should also be aware that if you put your Infographic on your website, that people are going to skim read it (almost as if skim reading is a reflex). If you put all of your text and statistics in the same font and with the same font size, then they will be able to easily skim read it. Large lettering and statistics acts as a physical reading break, which forces the reader to stop skim reading.
Consider the four steps – visual, dynamics, complete, significant
Start with the visual which is how your Infographic will look as a whole, and how it will look as a smaller preview. Think of your Infographic more like a poster in a shop window. Your aim is to get people to pay attention to the important parts. First you need to get them to look at the title, and then you need to highlight two or more other points to draw them in. The other points can be anywhere on the page, just so long as they attract the user (visually and intellectually).
Your Infographic dynamics involves setting up your Infographic so that it looks like it fits. The larger points that draw in people’s attention must be followed by information that is relevant to the headers/title/points. The Infographic must have different elements that complement each other, whilst also making sure that the page can be easily read.
The Infographic must be complete. In other words if you promise to give some information in the title, then make sure you give it all. You cannot treat an Infographic like a blog post or web article. The Infographic is a parcel of information that you give as a whole.
Your Infographic must have some significance. The average heart rate of a slug is not really something that people are going to perceive as significant. If you can explain a little bit about why its heart rate is such, and how many hearts it has, and how it works, then biologists and environmental scientists may be interested. But giving vapid, inconsequential and insignificant information is the key to a bad Infographic. Keep asking yourself what you plan to explain, and why you plan to explain it.
Keep your Infographic relevant and significant with these questions
What is its purpose? (to translate, compare, point out, question)
How will you organize your information? (guidelines, format, text, analysis, conclusion)
What type of chart is the most relevant (chronology, pie charts, bar graphs, profiles, comparison charts, tree maps, Venn diagrams, annotated maps)
What are the essential elements to highlight? (fact, truth, comparison)
Which ones are superfluous and that you will not appear there? (which elements cannot be removed)
Are the sources you used reliable? (a wrong Infographic is a bad Infographic)
Don’t use other Infographics for inspiration
That is what everybody does, and that is why so many Infographics look the same. Start with a blank canvas, and come up with something new. The worst thing you can do is to find an Infographic making tool. Because the tool will offer you timelines and pie charts etc, and you will use them instead of thinking up your own original methods for communicating your facts and ideas.
Do not jump on the bandwagon
Every time a new graphical effect is created or becomes popular, you will see pages full of Infographics that have it. If a shiny sparkly Infographic element came out tomorrow, then by the end of next week you would see thousands of new Infographics with the element installed. Try to remain original in your Infographics, because they are less likely to be read if they fade into the background (plus it will make your Infographic less memorable).