Information graphics or simply Infographics are the graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge to present complex data quickly and in a very clear format. The human brain processes visuals 60,000x faster than plain text, which signifies that readers will imbibe visual information far better than information in plain text. As Internet users generally have a short attention span, infographics have a crucial part to play in your content development and marketing.
There are mainly three parts for all infographics â€“ the visual, the content and the knowledge. The colors and graphics are included in the visual. The two types of graphics are theme graphics which represent underlying visual representation (found in all infographics), and reference graphics (normally icons) which point to certain data (not always found in all infographics). The content includes statistics and facts taken from several sources such as census data and news reports. The insight into the data presented is the knowledge part of an infographics.
The main goals of using an infographic are to communicate a message, to present a large volume of data or information in a compact and easy-to-understand manner, to evaluate data for finding cause-and-effect relationships and to monitor certain parameters periodically. Infographics are categorized into three according to how they represent graphic data.
- Static Infographics – These represent the entire information at once to provide a quick impact on the reader (for instance, snapshots in newspapers)
- Motion Infographics – These display information sequentially and consistently. These are ideal for cinema and presentations (for example, graphic animations).
- Interactive Infographics – They provide information according to the choice of readers, just as people selecting what they want from the complex set of information on the internet.
There are different types of infographics used in various fields such as Cause and Effect Infographics (represents causal relationships between physical and conceptual stages), Chronological Infographics (shows an event or process that has evolved in time), Quantitative Infographics (presents statistic data to readers quickly and clearly), Directional Infographics (helps readers to navigate through information), and Product Infographics (conveying information about the product in a simple way).
Here are the major advantages of using infographics in your content.
- Create Information-rich Content Quickly – It easy to create and curate infographics data with various tools available.
- Great Visual Appeal – The content and data can be recognized easily by the difference in colors, which provides a good visual appeal and helps viewers understand the information easily. As a result, infographics go viral very quickly.
- Easily Transportable – It takes only a few minutes to download and upload infographics. Also, you can share them through social media sites easily and gain a lot of traffic. It is also possible to save and share them as PDF documents or JPEG images.
According to statistics published recently by HubSpot (an inbound marketing software service company), publishers using infographics got an average of 12% growth in traffic compared to those who didnâ€™t use it. From this, we can infer infographics have SEO value too. Search engines and users prefer information graphics to plain text. It is possible to embed links in your information graphics so that you can receive backlinks when it goes viral. Or you can simply ask to link back to your site with some juicy keywords when you allow someone to publish your information graphics. In both ways, it serves as an effective link building technique. However, if you expect to link back to your site, ensure that your information graphic is relevant to the readers. Matt Cutts says, “Any infographics you create will do better if theyâ€™re closely related to your business and it needs to be fully disclosed what you are doing.”
As indicated earlier, you can use different tools to quickly create powerful and appealing information graphics. Here are some of the best infographic tools available.
- Easel.ly – This tool helps to create your information graphics from a blank slate and their templates. Being in beta stage, the registration is free. However, it may go paid later.
- Infogr.am – This is quite easy to use and provides a better interface, easy registration with Facebook and five free templates. As of now, it is limited to statistical infographics though you can create interactive infographics with it.
- Piktochart – It can provide access to WYSIWYG editor for $29 a month, which will enable you to drag and drop elements to create an effective and simple infographics within an hour (average). The graphics can be saved as PNG/JPG file or raw data, and then uploaded into Adobe Photoshop to make it more attractive. It also gives six free templates.
- Infoactive – You need to sign up for using this tool. The infographic created using this donâ€™t get outdated easily as it allows modifications in real-time. This is an immensely popular infographic tool available currently. It is also very mobile friendly.
The other best tools are IBMâ€™s Many Eyes (free); Visual.ly (paid) and Balsamiq (pay for desktop version).
While designing, three provisions for smooth communication need to be analyzed such as appeal (the communication should engage readers), comprehension (readers should understand the information easily) and retention (readers should remember the information provided). To create a good infographic, you must understand graph options and themes and plan your visualization. Getting support from a professional website design company is desirable.