The concept of an information graphic, commonly referred to an infographic, is not a new one. The desire to share information in an easy to relate to medium is useful in every area of our lives.
With the advent of the Internet, the infographic grew in popularity because of the visual simplicity they can bring in distilling and presenting key data. Information seeking consumers are drawn to the elaborate design and yet simple delivery and presentation of information in a compact visual fashion. There is no need to read a long article with lots of facts and data. The infographic can be scanned quickly to attain the main points, with additional information available if you want to dig deeper.
The explosion in popularity of infographics recently can be tracked to a change that Google made in February of 2011. Google tweaked their search algorithm in February of 2011 to “provide better rankings for high-quality websites – sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.” In an effort to reduce the influence of content farms that manipulate search results, Google encouraged concepts like infographics that provided higher quality original content.
From an SEO perspective, the infographics work well as link bait. If the message and value is high enough, visitors are motivated to share it with others, bringing tremendous additional traffic and links that aid search relevance and popularity.
Like any newly popular art form, the infographic has been over-used by many looking to take advantage of the new search algorithm. Some creators misunderstand the purpose and unique value that infographics provide on the Internet.
Here are 7 tips to help you creating more effective infographics:
1. Their value is found in the links and traffic they bring in, so spread the word via social media and marketing, rather than trying to spread the infographic all over.
2. Invest in considerable creativity and design to present the information in a fresh manner. Pasting in images and cheap clip art will not be effective. Don’t just settle for pie charts and bar graphs.
3. Simplicity is key. Distill your information visually utilizing images and graphs, looking to use less, rather than more text. Only use the most relevant data, don’t clutter your graphic with too much detail. You are attempting to visualize the data, so rely on fancy fonts or big type to explain your points.
4. The goal is to inform, not sell. Fight the urge to use your infographic to sell something overtly, confining your pitch to less than 20 percent of your demonstration.
5. Always lead with a strong meaningful title. It should explain itself simply. This is where you can use eye-catching headings and titles.
6. Use well documented data or unique research. Jumping on wikipedia to scrounge up some information isn’t sufficient to be taken seriously. Better yet, provide new research or share information that hasn’t been readily available before.
7. Make it fun and entertaining. People are overwhelmed with information and data in their lives. If it’s interesting, entertaining, and informative people are more likely to share your infographic with others.
Your goal is to tell a story with a beginning, middle and end. Plan your main attraction or “hook” and place it well to catch their eye. Your layout can and should divert from the traditional vertical-scrolling single column reading an article format.
For the designers, it is important to give yourself enough time to wireframe, sketch and lay out your structure. With the melding of text, images and graphics, you are looking to create an art piece that is visually and mentally informative. If your infographic isn’t conveying your complex concepts quickly and clearly or communicating your ideas easily, then all your design and graphic wizardry will go to waste.