By the end of this article I hope to have given you some good advice on how to make an effective infographic. As the co-founder of a small infographics company, I think about their effectiveness a lot. And what I mean by effective is giving you’re content the greatest chance of succeeding.
The first barrier you’ve got to overcome, is people seeing your infographic and thinking ‘that looks terrible’. On the other hand really beautiful data visualisations often don’t succeed either. Mostly it’s because they’re not interesting. But there are at least 5 other reasons many infographics are scuppered on the road to success, and here they are.
A different kind of Code Fail
1 Failing To Include A Share Code
Making it difficult for people to embed the infographic on your website will stop it dead in its tracks. The share code is the piece of html code that exists in a box at the bottom of your infographic. It hotlinks to your piece of content, so someone can take that code and paste it on their website. Loads of people forget to do it, and as a consequence their infographics are not passed on.
Descartes would approve.
2 Using Graph-pornography
Graph-porn really annoys me. It’s when a simple graph has been jazzed up so much, that you don’t have a clue what it means anymore. It’s usually been made by somebody who doesn’t really understand that the point of a graph is to make information easy to understand. By all means, make the graph pretty, but don’t make it pretty just for the sake of it.
This is the horizontally formatted infographic
3 Making It The Wrong Shape
What I mean is making it wide and rectangular rather than long and rectangular. Mouse wheels scroll up and down and browsers aren’t designed to scroll across. It’s fine if you want to design a poster, but if you want to create something people can look at and share easily, you need to take into account their technology.*
This is what you should aim to avoid.
4 Not Using A Good Designer
I see this all the time: excellent research rendered useless, because someone hasn’t spent enough money to visualise and deploy it properly. The flipside is having excellent design but no research. Text and design need to be well-balanced. It needs to be obvious how your eye is meant to flow down it.
You should always spend extra time on design
5 Using Text Badly
If an infographic is overburdened with text, it makes it difficult to understand. It detracts from the whole point of an infographic, which is to make data and information more accessible. Often the text is scattered around in those little boxes, and you have to zoom in and scroll around the thing. Also avoid text that’s incorrectly sourced, or the source being just wikipedia. That’s annoying. I could have read the wiki-entry.
The one you employ should be slightly larger.
My top tip is to employ a very good copywriter. Let’s not forget that infographics are texts and graphics. I think people really undervalue the text element, because so many people come at it from a design background. What little text there is should be the bee’s knees. Succinctness is key.
*Tablets could do it, but that’s very specific. Tablet-specific infographics might emerge in the future in a big way. I’ve always dreamed of doing a massive, long, super-detailed timeline that you can scroll across, but we’re not there yet. Certainly not at our company. We make inforgraphics to acquire links for clients and for brand promotion. You have to consider your target audience’s technology when you do these things.
If your interesting in knowing more give the infographic design team a shout.