Infographics – The Good, The Bad, The New Perspective

We all prefer graphical representations to long textual facts and figures. The reason being that they are more interesting and give a consolidated glimpse of the data which can be compared easily. Even statistics have proven that 40% of the audience respond better to visual representations in comparison to text based information. This may be attributed to the fact that the human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Infographics are being shared over social media and are getting good responses from the users. While many may believe that the use of infographics is fairly new, it is safe to say that similar representations have been in existence since ages. However the problem with infographics is that the more they are used, the more chances exist for them to become so common that they may lose popularity with the masses and eventually resulting in weakened marketing efforts. The only way to ensure effective use of infographics is to constantly innovate and understand the finer nuances associated with visual representation of complex or lengthy data.

The Good:

  • The most alluring aspect of infographics is the visual appeal and simplicity of presentation. While becoming overly creative may seem to be a good strategic approach, most users prefer simple presentations that have clarity and can easily be understood for comparison.
  • Considering the benefits of infographics in online marketing, it aids the SEO functions by earning incoming links in accordance with subsequent increase in traction.
  • Being a visual representation, the inclusion of the brand’s logo would go a long way in promoting and sustaining market position for the business. However this requires proper placement of the logo within the acceptable confines of premium positioning in the infographic.
  • Another benefit pertains to the portrayal of one’s expertise which is achieved by making an effective comparison of internal data with data from the applicable industry, thereby providing a comprehensive portrayal of well researched data.

The Bad:

  • Infographics that are used solely for the purpose of increasing “linkbaits” have often resulted in poorly executed efforts. It is due to such poorly executed content that infographics having immense potential are not given due consideration.
  • In keeping with the amount of research required and the manner in which it is presented to the customers, infographics may be an expensive undertaking for small businesses. The costs incurred are high only when extremely striking infographics are to be made. Simple representations can be made at lower costs.
  • It is not uncommon for unrealistic expectations to be kept from infographics wherein the purpose tends to become focused on making the content viral rather than emphasizing on proper content creation with backed up facts and statistics to prove its worth. It is this expectation which at times has been known to cause more harm than good.
  • While it is feasible to outsource data for statistical representation, its use may not reflect the actual points of concern for the customers. In order to manage this, it is better to conduct research by identifying key points that have direct impact on the business as well as the consumers.

The New Perspective:

Simplicity shall always hold priority for creating impressive infographics. Proof of this may be seen in the infographic created by Dell which utilized a yes / no based flowchart for captivating the interests of programmers who are familiar with this type of representation. This helped the company to connect with its audience and potential customers. Current trends in infographics indicate the those with longer layouts with vertical flow of data would be successful in retaining their effectiveness in communicating the information to the audience. While the best practices for infographics may have possible differing aspects, the need for incorporating innovative methods to captivate audiences has gained paramount significance especially in light of the widespread use of infographics which poses the risk of obsoletion.

The infographic designs that are presented currently mainly comprise of static graphical representation of data that is provided in interesting ways to the audience. However, there is a dire need for improving the presentation methods for achieving the next level of infographics. One such possible approach would be to use Parallax Scrolling which is the key transition for conventional designs to be presented as interactive web pages. The reason behind its potential effectiveness lies in the fact that the images in the foreground move either slowly or independently in comparison to the images in the background. This results in an interactive experience for the user wherein the content needs to be scrolled or moved in order to see further information.

Some of the benefits of using this relatively new approach include enhanced interaction, better user retention, faster captivating rates, and increased sharing of content. This is really crucial in driving more traffic to the intended web pages. Another benefit of using parallax scrolling pertains to the fact that the text can be made to crawl. This facility enables infographics to be positioned at the bottom of the layout and transcribing it accordingly. Additionally, internal links from the content itself may be provided which is practically better than transcribing the same.

From the marketing perspective, parallax scrolling enables infographic to be re-purposed easily. This results in the infographic being submitted to dedicated directories, online document sharing platforms and creation of micro-blogs, There is even the possibility of these infographics being turned into video presentations if the content and its purpose permits it. The question about parallax scrolling becoming the infographic template of the future still remains unanswered but possibilities are constrained only by the limits of one’s creativity.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Creating a Compelling Infographic

While relevant and regularly updated online content like blogs, articles, and press releases continue to be crucial components in optimizing your website, there are other highly effective forms of communication that draws in consumer attention to your business.

One of these forms is the infographic, which appeals to the ever-growing crowd of online browsers who connect to more visual methods of learning.

Short for “information graphic,” an infographic is defined as the visual representation of information. Visualization is a powerful tool-the millions spent on creating movie posters to market films is proof of that. But infographics are more than just posters with graphs on it. A well-crafted infographic should be able to convey a complex concept in an easily understood, visually appealing way.

Decidedly, there is a trick to designing a successful infographic, which is why it has become a career option. There are endless lists of what makes an infographic successful vs. just a poster with graphs, but here are a handful of do’s and don’ts that will help you with the basics of designing your own infographic.

DO tell a story. Like a good story, infographics should have clear beginning, middle, and end. Introduce the thesis, problem, or purpose of the infographic at the top, or beginning. Support your thesis with data-this is where well-designed charts and graphs come in. Then, end the infographic with a final conclusion.

DO communicate complex data simply and attractively. If a consumer is just as confused by your infographic as they would be by the list of data it is supposed to represent, then a visual isn’t doing its job. Think about your audience and develop a simple, yet creative way to convey the same information so that the consumer can digest it easier.

DO make social media sharing easy. Social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are valuable gateways into the next level of marketing. Designing infographics that can be easily shared through these sites is one of the best ways you can improve the online visibility of your company. So keep them simple and make them attractive-that is the best way to encourage sharing.

DO NOT tell when you can show instead. Writers are taught never to describe through exposition when you can illustrate through character dialogue. Similarly, in an infographic you should never tell when it can be displayed visually instead. That’s the purpose of an infographic after all, is it not?

DO NOT rely on typography too much. A common crutch designers rely on to make information stand out is using alternative typography. While different fonts can be great for highlighting certain data, overusing it can detract from the cohesiveness of the design.

DO NOT use every color you can think of. Rather than make your infographic look like a rainbow exploded on it, use color palettes that complement the message of the visual.

The best rule to follow when developing an infographic is to keep it simple. Successful visual designs take detailed and complicated data and present it in a form that is easily understood by consumers.

Furthermore, answer the questions of purpose, goal, and relevance before you develop an infographic for your website or client.

While there is plenty more that goes into developing a successful infographic, keeping these concepts in mind is a good start.

Increase Branding and Traffic With Infographics

While there is no denying that words are an exceedingly powerful tool in creating a brand or driving relevant traffic to your site, they are but a piece in the overall marketing equation. Why does your brain crave infographics? As humans, we are very visual creatures. And in today’s society of online A.D.D., marketers need to be clever and savvy in how they grab the attention of potential customers.

While the digital form of infographics is relatively recent, explaining an idea in image form is nothing new. Infographics are the smart new digital way of communicating ideas, data and knowledge.

Did you know the world’s information is currently doubling every two years? It’s no wonder people experience information overload.

The use of visualized information has increased drastically.

– 9900% on the internet (since 2007)
– 142% in newspapers (between 1985 & 1994)

From 2010 to 2012, infographic search volumes have increased over 800%.

In 2013, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, Gareth Cook, was brought in to edit the first volume of The Best American Infographics.

So, why do infographics work?

1. We live in the information age: In one day, we create 1.5 billion pieces of content, 140 million tweets and 2 million videos. But we have less and less time and attention spans to read and take in as much content as we want. Most people decide to stay or leave a site in just 2-4 seconds. With infographics, it’s much more likely your content will be remembered.

2. We are Visual: An infographic collects data, organizes it, and turns this information into an easy to understand visual. A well-researched and designed infographic empowers readers by breaking down complex ideas into visual groupings. Stunning images or well-designed charts simply make a bigger impression.

3. Demonstrate & Convince: Want to learn how to do the Moon Walk? You could read about it, but it would be a lot easier to view an infographic with step-by-step pictures. An infographic also can easily tell a story, behind the statistics of just about anything you can think of. They make it easy to understand even complex concepts.

4. Brand Awareness: Infographics have company logos embedded for instant brand awareness. And built on the same principles of content marketing components, it should tell a good brand story.

5. Earn Links: Because of the visual appeal, infographics are easily shareable on all social profiles. They allow sites in niche industries with minimal natural linkage to earn links from other markets. Infographics can provide global coverage, at a much smaller cost, than print media ever could.

6. Become an Authority: The research required for an infographic will help you become the expert in the topic or industry.

7. Measurable Results: Infographics are meant to go viral. Good infographics equal enhanced search visibility and increased SEO. Infographics offer quick measurable results from social shares, backlinks and traffic.

Some fantastic examples:

1. 50 Years of Space Exploration: Massive infographic that displays the last 50 years of space exploration. Designed by Sean McNaughton and Samuel Velasco for National Geographic.

2. Grand Mosque: This is an infographic press release from the Gulf News (Dubai)

3. The Slowest Loading Website in the Fortune 500: This details the load times of all Fortune 500 companies.

4. The Big Questions of Climate Change: This detailed and data rich infographic by Adolfo Arranz shows the true impact of climate change.

Information has to be digestible for it to go viral. Generate a unique connection with visitors with creatively designed, animated and educational infographics. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.