As consumers increasingly demand their information be fed to them in small image and video bites, infographics are beginning to flood digital spaces. A recent infographic on, well, infographics reveals that from 2010 to 2012, Google searches for infographics increased by more than 800 percent. And those who use infographics grow in Web traffic an average of 12 percent more than those who don’t.
It makes perfect sense – visuals are processed in the brain 60,000 times faster than text. With just a quick scan, we can learn and retain information better than if we took five or 10 minutes out of our busy lives to read an article or report.
But here’s the problem: as marketers clamor to capitalize on the infographic craze, they’re sacrificing quality. Infographics heavy in design elements and light on actual information have become an unfortunate norm – and they’re benefitting neither the reader nor the marketer. In fact, they could damage a marketer’s credibility.
Before you take the visual leap with an infographic, consider these five tips, recently shared by industry experts as they predicted the future of infographics.
1. Make education, not promotion, priority #1
The most successful infographics help readers better understand a particular topic. They are accurate, clear and easy-to-understand. Make education your priority, and the “viral factor” may follow. But don’t create an infographic solely with the purpose of creating potentially viral content. Readers will see through your shallow visual, lose interest and/or leave the infographic more confused.
2. Tell a story
Beyond helping your audience understand something better, infographics should tell a story by painting a (literal) bigger picture. Think about the key questions you want to answer about a particular topic, then consider how you’d create a presentation around that topic. What would you begin with? What would naturally follow? How would you build up to your conclusion? Use that same outline to take readers on a visual journey.
3. Strike a balance between design and data
Sure, that exaggerated arrow tells a story, but is it leading to misinterpretation of a data point? While it’s the job of the graphic designer to make the infographic look good, engaging the researcher in the design process as well is critical. Says Stephanie Evergreen, principal consultant at Evergreen Evaluation, “What data I do see is often misrepresented, where the graph’s cuteness outweighed its true and accurate representation of actual numbers. This means we need designers who know more about data visualization, and statisticians and researchers who know more about design, talking together through the infographic production process.”
4. Think beyond the Web
The majority of infographics appear on the Web – and for good reason; visuals tend to capture the attention of Internet users more than text. But they’re also sprouting up in annual reports, brochures, product packaging and other marketing materials to tell relevant stories in more engaging ways. Before you place that infographic on your website or blog, think about whether it may more effectively reach your target audience in another medium.
5. Make things complex
As users seek more in-depth interactive experiences, video, motion graphics and animated GIFs are just a few of the ways creators are making their infographics more dynamic. As you create your infographic strategy, ask yourself whether a particular data point or place in your visual story could be better communicated via video or animation.
Have you created an effective infographic? Share it below – we’d love to see it. Need some help honing your infographic strategy? Give us a call.