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Infographics have risen from humble beginnings in 2008 to a household name in 2015. The use of simple, informative graphics has grown in popularity along with the rise of social media, as consumers demand instant results and bite-sized information. But where does this trend come from? And what makes infographics so important in modern-day communications?
People’s opinions of infographics vary. Old-school data visualization fans I speak to generally loathe the inclusion of unnecessary design elements, while the new school fans can’t get enough of them. In any case, there is no doubt that the trend has taken off. So what makes a good infographic? I’ve found there needs to be a good mix of text and visuals, a bit like a gin and tonic--too much of either will kill the drink.
Generally, if an infographic is too text-heavy, people will skim over it. People love a good-looking data visualization, so plenty of time should be spent on picking the right design. Where I’m from, there's the saying “you can’t polish a turd,” so it's important the information communicated is interesting and relevant. No matter how much you dress up some information, it simply isn’t going to be interesting.
Before we look at the specific benefits of infographics, here are some reasons why your business should be using them:
The whole idea of infographics is to make information more appealing to the reader. The reason you want your information to be more appealing is because it makes the information more effective. At the end of the day, it's imperative that your content is effective; without this, it’s a complete waste of time.
The beauty of an infographic is that it draws the reader’s attention to the information at hand. Perhaps the reader would have discovered the information anyway, but the one way to make sure that your information is seen is by converting it into an infographic.
This is a basic concept; the easier the information is to read, the easier it is to understand. Infographics offer the reader all the information they need in one simple image.
Images are easier to commit to memory, so using colors, pictures and graphs to communicate a message is going to create a more memorable experience for the reader.
Because of the attractive nature of infographics, the potential for them to be shared is much greater than ordinary text content. This is very helpful for your brand awareness. A typical infographic can reach up to 15 million people. That’s some reach!
Besides having viral potential, infographics that are linked have the tendency to increase web traffic.
Due to their viral nature, people will link to your site when they reuse your infographic. That means Google's page rank algorithm will favor your page and index it higher in the rankings.
In a nutshell, data visualizations were boring before infographics and the production process was slow. The benefits were that the information was easy to digest and they tied a presentation or a report together. Aside from depicting information in a bland manner, the amount of time and effort it took to produce a graph was ridiculous. It could take hours to illustrate the most basic data with a simple bar graph. The example above shows just how basic and ordinary data visualizations were 10 years ago.
The evolution of data visualization into infographics has made the process of creating and interpreting visuals much more interesting. The change has seen increases in efficiency and attractiveness. The result, as seen above, is a far greater experience for the reader. By using infographics, all the information required by the reader is shared in the clearest possible way. Not only that, it looks a lot better too. As mentioned earlier, if the infographic you create is original and interesting, there is a chance it could go viral, which will increase your brand awareness--something previous methods of data visualization could never offer. The example here isn’t necessarily an interesting topic, but the way it’s presented makes it absorbing. You want to know what is being said.
Recently, I was searching for an online tool for creating engaging and attractive content for my own business blog. During my search, I stumbled upon Visme. Visme and other data presentation tools don't offer just pretty pictures and nice colors; they offer time, something almost as valuable to a business as money itself. Here’s how infographics (and tools like Visme) do that:
These are the features I would consider to be the most attractive. They demonstrate just how efficient infographics and other data presentations can be.
Don’t believe me? I created the infographic below in under an hour. It communicates everything I just wrote in a far more attractive manner. Not only is it more attractive, it’s easier to share and, therefore, more likely to increase brand awareness for your business.
Even if you’re unsure of these visualization tools, with their low cost and minimal time requirements, why wouldn’t you at least try them?