30 Jan Infographics: three formats for communicating information
Infographics and data visualization have become so popular in the last year or two; they may be seen on websites and blogs, shared on social networks, used as communication devices for media, business, government, and academia. Why have infographics become the content publisher’s tool of choice? Infographics have proven to be effective in helping content publishers reach wide audiences and increase engagement. Publishers who use infographics grow in traffic an average of 12 percent more than those who don’t. And, in one week it was found that there were 87,000 tweets about infographics.
What makes infographics so effective? The information highway is congested, and infographics help content stand out from the deluge of information. They are visually compelling, and more likely to engage the viewer. Plus, viewers have short attention spans, only allowing a website 2-4 seconds before deciding to bounce. The visual quality of infographics is that they are simply eye-catching and draw viewers in. Most importantly, infographics allow you to communicate your content in a way that makes your information easier to understand and remember. Several studies have shown that people retain information presented visually much longer than what they read. For these same reasons, infographics are also an important communication tool for presenters.
This robust tool for communicating information, especially complex data, can be created in three ways. Each type of infographic has its own associated benefits and the type you choose for your content will depend largely on the type of information you are sharing and on your communication goals.
Currently, the most common type of infographic is the static form. It is relatively easier to design than the other two types, and if you are hiring a designer, can be relatively more affordable. Because static infographics are just images, they are easy to repurpose and share. You can easily use the infographic or parts of it in other collateral, such as your presentations, brochures, or motion graphics. And, since it’s just an image it can be easily posted on websites and social networks without having to link to where it is hosted. This is the format of choice for fixed content that does not need to be readily updated.
Because there are so many static infographics, an interactive infographic is a great way to set yourself apart. Interactivity allows for more engagement with the viewer and for a more immersive experience, keeping viewers enthralled for longer periods. They require programming to create, and therefore can be more expensive. When creating an interactive infographic, you must be mindful of potential browser and device compatibility issues. These cannot be printed and are not as easy to repurpose. However, the benefits are clear—they provide the content publisher with the ability to provide more in-depth information while allowing the viewer to explore the data on their own. Furthermore, interactive content can be set up to dynamically pull data allowing the publisher to update the data set and infographic as needed, or allowing the viewer to enter their own data to personalize the visualization.
Motion graphics are always a captivating communication tool because they are packed with rich stimuli, holding the viewer’s attention throughout. The narrative-based nature of motion graphics also allows you to manage the pace and manner of how the information unfolds providing a controlled and powerful environment for explaining complex subject matter. Through a combination of animated graphics, illustration, and kinetic text, the viewer can be walked through an explanation or presentation of ideas, while being entertained. It’s a great combination for getting brand-centric messages across and making a connection with the viewer. Motion graphics design is a specialized skill, so creating a motion infographic is more expensive than a comparable static infographic. While printing a motion graphic is not possible, videos can be easily shared.
Over the past year, it’s been interesting to watch the continued interest in the static infographic and the growing appeal of interactive and motion infographics. The success of this medium will continue to grow as more and more publishers and marketers endeavor to fulfill the growing need to display valuable information and provide fresh and interesting content that can be shared.
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