Solutions to the Biggest Challenges in Creating Infographics (Part 1)

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Deciding on a Topic and Defining Your Content Structure

About this Series

Visme is an online visual editing tool designed to maximize the potential of any given data needing visualization. Our Visual Learning Center has been set up to aid in visual production of data delivery. It is dedicated to providing you creativity tips and productivity hacks to help improve visual literacy and information delivery through visual stories.

There are templates on Visme that are useful in creating visual presentations, images and almost any visual content to use in day to day business campaign, social media posts or online advertising. One of the more commonly used visual contents today are infographics.

 

Infographics have become elemental in data and information delivery. They are widely used in statistic distribution, marketing and advertising efforts, executive presentations, research and development analysis and almost anything that can be depicted in visual presentations. Infographics are the new mode of data delivery and have been predicted to be around an increasing demand in the future.

There are thousands of infographics posted weekly. They are useful, economic and convenient sources of information. However, infographics you find online are created may not be as substantial because of its poor illustration.

– these set of infographics fill up the Junk Charts you find online such as an example below:

Captura de pantalla 2015-06-24 a las 11.26.13 a.m.

An example of a hard to understand Junk Chart

You can choose to drown with junk charts or you can help improve the way infographics are created.  To help you we have gathered useful topics and ideas that have been proven to ease and improve the creation process of infographics.

We have dedicated a three part series to identify the most common problems that challenges a visual creator and learner (i.e. yourself). In this three part, the first series talks about how to identify a viable, productive and informative topic to use in producing a quality infographic.

In the second series we will equip you with basic rules on graphic design and precepts in communicating data via visual presentations and the third part will focus in handing down creativity tips and productivity hacks to improve the presentation, increase the chances of virality and ensure visibility of your infographics.

This part is geared to providing you steps in topic identification and elimination. We also intend to help you come up with a good narrative that is clear on its goals and purpose.

Overview

Infographics or information graphics according to Wikipedia* are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present information quickly and clearly.

Infographics have become indispensable in the visual communication of data and information. In one form or another they have been around as far as you can remember.

Graphical representations dates back to the first maps from way back around 6200 BC. From then on visual representation crucial to science, math and history populated the learning space.

One

A simple representation of the evolution of Visual cues by Humans over time.

The Evolution of Infographics has made a special turn when the digital age started to unfold. In the present world information overload  is a problem for the simple reason – Too Much to Read with Too Little Time.

Infographics and other visual content have become vital to learners, researchers, business people, educators, leaders, and almost everyone who has the need to digest and absorb information at a glance.  Everyone settles for visual representations of material data, to catch up with the ever growing world of information.

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Research and case studies have proven that IO (information overload) impairs our general well being. Decision making efficiency and rational thinking have been reported to be immensely affected and influenced by the amount of information we take in.

quote

infonewEducation has become sustainable, effective and efficient because of the readiness and availability  of on-demand of data and information online. Gone are the days, when one would need to visit libraries, scour through shelves of books to find answers for a material research or when one needed to visit various websites to collect text information to answer questions material to school requirements, business presentations and even marketing reports.

The digital age has brought tremendous change to doing time consuming research and data elimination with the birth, development and evolution of infographic creation.

Today, the data and information you need are now contextualized with these visual aids. What makes infographics great visual aids is the fact that they assist in breaking down IO.  They filter the information that matters most and help ease the burden of acquiring too much unnecessary information.

This three-part blog series aim to provide material solutions to common infographic creation challenges for first time users and intermediate learners and creators:

Part 1 – Deciding on a Topic and Outlining Structure

Part 2 – Basic Visual Principles in Making Infographics

Part 3 – Tips to Make Your Infographic Content Worthy

The first three steps is confined to choosing the appropriate topic, creating a structure and planning the narrative and identifying the best type or theme to present the collected data visually.

These steps identify the purpose and goal of your infographic. It serves as a guide when you finally come to wireframing your visual presentation of the data and information you want to communicate to readers.

Part 1: Choosing a topic for your infographic

Header2Randomly selecting a topic is easy, but choosing the right topic for an infographic can be daunting because finding a topic your audience can relate to and appreciate is not a one step process you can decide out of whim. It takes careful deliberation and certain guidelines to arrive at a topic that will best deliver the message of your brand.

A topic carefully considered, well-thought and planned is elemental if the goal is brand awareness, traffic generation or lead conversion.  You can do away with great designs, good color combinations great icons, but absent the appropriate topic – you will fail to deliver the information you really want to send.

When choosing a topic, understanding your goal is the first step. After identifying or deciding on the goal, move on to finding the topic that will best capture the message of your brand or the importance of the product or service that you provide.

A few important key points to keep in mind when selecting your topic:

 

Make it newsworthy. Is it something that your audience will be entertained or be curious about?

Info1

Be Informative. When choosing your topic make sure that it is not just a piece of graphical summary of data, but it provides a conclusive evidence of what you want your audience to learn about, avoid adding Junk Charts  – these are low-rated data visualization output that are void of material and useful information even to the average netizen.

info2

Give them what they want. You can ask your audience of the information that matters most to them. Whether you are providing a service or offering a product, your customers, fans and followers would greatly partake the process. In the modern world of content marketing this is called co-creation.

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InfoMatters

DO NOT SELL. Buyers are smarter than you may think. They can identify a sales pitch from a mile away. Use your infographics to drive them closer and not to turn them away. Use infographic to send out your message and establish expertise – entertain and inform – offer interesting facts and trivial ideas that they can benefit from.

info3

BE INNOVATIVE AND UPDATED. Use infographic to offer an argument against a trending topic in your industry, or offer information relative to a groundbreaking study. Leverage the information wisely to your advantage, create and angle for your industry if you find an opening.

Captura de pantalla 2015-06-24 a las 11.32.00 a.m.

SELF IMMERSION. Put yourself in the shoes of the reader, researcher or buyer – What would they be interested in? What topic would they require to understand your brand or find the need for your services?

info5

What infographic topics should you avoid ?

  • Qualitative Research Data
  • Simple subjects that can be best depicted in another visual form
  • Simple Procedures
  • Complex Procedures
  • Promotional material
  • Past Infographics (Unless you are further improving on good topics)
  • Using Humor

The list above offers topics that fail to offer the following:

  • A good comparison of data
  • Material relationship of one factor to another
  • Offers a visible change, update or evolution of data or information pertaining to specific subject matter
  • Clearly state definite figures

Keep in mind that infographic creation is not a mere process of converting data to images, icons and logos, rather it is an artful process that when done correctly, is capable offering valuable content and information to  targeted audience or readers. The key element is transforming data and information that shows a narrative, a relationship, a structure and perspective. It should offer a clear, concise and useful information.

Creating a Structure and Wireframing

Header3A good structure determines data organization, a smooth narrative flow and an assurance of data integrity. Create a DATA-focused infographic not a design controlled representation of your data – your primary purpose is to deliver a message – stick to that. In creating your structure focus on the following:

How much data should you include. Too much data will defeat the purpose of your visual presentation, too little and you undermine the usefulness of your infographic

The State of Infographics

Categorization. Data is classified and categorized accordingly – this process will help in determining the visual format for the infographic.

Most Popular Infographics

Tweaks. Decide whether your data deserves more animation, it needs to be interactive or if it can be static.   For example Visme allows you to do Static and Animated infographics and include interactivity.

Platform for Distribution. Determine where you will be promoting your visual content – is it on TV, Internet conventional media

A well-constructed structure focuses on the data and considers design as a secondary element. It should be comprehensive, focused on elements, offers clarity, accuracy and reliability.

Once data has been combed and carefully filtered, the next step is wireframing. Defining the hierarchy of the gathered information, and creating a storyboard that encapsulates everything that the infographic will offer – this is what we call wireframing.

Wireframing is initial visual presentation that will guide in creating the final layout. This elemental process is vital to designers who works for digital agencies, marketing firms or industry leaders – as this makes the basic dressing of the content that they intend to produce.

Creating a Narrative for your infographic

Header4Again, visual communication is an art but one that anyone can master following a few basic guidelines.. Whatever topic is pursued in the interest of your goal to drive traffic, increase brand awareness or lead generation, the data that you present must be:

  • Controversial
  • Competent
  • Compelling
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You must be able to create instant reaction with your topic and collected data, which of course will again depend on how the data is presented.

Infographic are all about breaking the complex to completely understandable data.  The ultimate goal in delivery is to be comprehensive, artful, entertaining and captivating.

Alongside this goals are the prerequisite to useful data –

  • It should be accurate and clear in its points so as to be easily understood.
  • It should be informative and consistent with current and relevant facts and backed up by  research
  • It should be fully optimized to comply with platform delivery medium and visually attractive to easily engage.
  • Last but not the least it should be accessible.

Again, the basic rule in visual content creation is to make available data easily understood. A narrative will put ease into combining what message you want to deliver to the audience.

After finalizing the narrative the next step is to decide how you will present your data.

Different Infographic Types

Here are the most common style and structure used by visual designers in creating infographics.

The Research or Case Study Infographic. Use this type when an article with useful information can be broken down into a story.   This type is commonly used for data visualization of medical research, statistical comparison.

    1. allergy
    2. the visual world

InfoCom1The Flowchart. The Process or How – to Infographic –  this is widely used to offer choices to audience  and to help them arrive at a decision or when the data you have intends to show how something is done or how to use an equipment or do any activity.

    1. Gardening
    2. How to choose an infographic

 

InfoCom2Timeline or Chronology. Use this type when you’re data refers to events or series of activities that needs accomplishment in a timely manner. It’s one of the most common infographic simply because it’s fast, easy and entertaining. It take the reader to a journey or a worthwhile ride with the information and data presented. example  – evolutions, historical data, fitness regimen

    1. Wearable Technology
    2. Steve Jobs Career

 

InfoCom3Comparative or the Versus Infographic. Used mainly to show differences in data of 2 or more variables – example – generational gap in the workplace, digital advertising vs conventional advertising.

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Numerical or Data Dominated Infographic. Ideally used to show statistical values, market differences, and study gaps of facts and figures or simply to showcase overwhelming numbers from different groups of variables.

InfoCom4

Photo Infographic. The use of real life photos to tell a story or to explain something. Useful for presentations that require guides or walkthroughs

InfoCom5

Infographics were developed and sustained to prevent massive data overload. Data delivery and distribution of information have become so easy with the collection of infographics accessible online.

Learning how to create infographics is not as simple as it sounds. There is a process that should be observed, complied to with great accuracy and implemented artfully to come up with a useful piece of content. Infographic is not collated pieces of visuals from converted data.

Infographic creation is an artful process for visual communicators. Its the process of converting digestible data to beautiful pieces of icons, charts,images – creating all together a sense of the numbers,information and stories, you barely retain from black letter reading.

Watch out for the second part of this series to have a good understanding of basic visual principles of infographic creation.

This is the end of Part 1 in helping you decide on your infographic topic and Outlining its Structure.  To learn more please Refer to:

Part 2 – Basic Rules in Designing Your Infographic Layout

Part 3 – Reasons Why Infographics are Vital In Your Content Marketing Strategy

 

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Originally posted 2016-01-28 02:54:19.

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