People process information visually. Long gone are the days of text loaded documents which people were expected to read through in its entirety. Today, it’s all about rapid consumption and assimilation of content. It’s no wonder, people process visuals a lot faster than text and hence communication via visual imagery makes a lot more sense.
Infographics achieve this goal beautifully. Infographics are the cornerstone of presentations, and they help by adding so much more content with the least amount of space used in the presentation. Infographics are the new storytellers which add visual elements beautifully to your presentation. So, let’s break down the many types of infographics into broad categories:
As an MS Excel tool, flowcharts have been available for ages now and a fair number of users create their flowcharts using MS Excel. A flowchart-based infographic showcases step-by-step sequences and procedures with easy to understand visual imagery.
Illustrations are usually linked together by lines, arrows, or dots, highlighting the next step in the process. For example, decision-making steps can branch out into multiple options which can be very easily showcased via a flowchart infographic. Hence, with each break in the section, one can guide viewers in the direction that is intended. This would become challenging to understand if it were to be only a text-based instruction.
For example, if we were to create a flowchart on ‘How To Publish Ebooks Fast’, the text would look something like this:
- Make a list of topics you can write about
- Narrow down to the topic of the Ebook
- Define your target market
- List down the benefits for the readers
- Make a list of potential titles
- Think about organizing your information
- Write down the table of contents
- Set a deadline and timeline
- Stay focused and accountable
- Create as per Timeline
- Edit your creation
- Create a proper format
- Launch Your Ebook
- Share Ebook launch via social media
Now shown below is a layout with the same amount of information but one that is clear, concise and looks clean as compared to a simple text-based instruction as listed above.
Timeline infographics are a great way of showing progress, whether it be a vertical or horizontal representation. For example, tracing the roots of a company to present-day growth is a great way of highlighting achievements and accolades via a timeline infographic.
The story of brand matters and ultimately showing the story in its entirety is best done when shown in a timeline infographic via rich visual media making them engaging for a larger audience.
The best case study for this purpose is Uber. With all the changes the company has gone through, its growth is the perfect example of a timeline infographics. Now if we were to list out the details, it would look like this:
Uber’s Growth Timeline
- 2008 — Garett Camp co-founded Uber to tackle taxi problems faced by commuters in San Francisco, California.
- 2009 — Garett developed the mobile application prototype with Travis Kalanick. Few months later, Travis Kalanick became the Chief Incubator of Ubercab.
- 2010 — Ubercab name changed to Uber and the platform expands in San Francisco area.
- 2011 — Uber expands nationally to other cities in America.
- 2013 — For two years, Uber aggressively expands to other countries.
- 2014 — Uber raised $1 Billion investment and is valued at $18 Billion.
- 2016 — Uber starts driverless Car program, other companies join in.
- 2018 — Uber partners with Waymo for launching driverless cars in select cities in America.
Now take a look at the Infographic shown below. Once again the data flow is clearly shown while visual and readability have increased a lot more. At the sametime, the data looks visually appealing and easily comprehensible.
Must-Dos for a great Timeline Infographic:
- A connecting line that goes throughout the infographic helps in following the information
- Use icons or images to highlight each point
- Wherever necessary, add a brief description as well.
A Geography-based infographic can really do wonders to showcase data pertinent to locations. Maps whether local or worldwide can be used to showcase demographics like income levels, tax brackets etc. These utilize smart layouts, unique design touches, relevant chart types and icons.
The sample text written to create this infographic would probably look like this if written down:
World’ Urban Population Across Continents
- North America — 363 Million 4.77%
- South America — 428 Million 5.61%
- Africa — 1285 Million 16.64%
- Asia — 4543 Million 59.66%
- Europe — 742 Million 9.83%
- Australia — 24 Million 0.32%
Now when compared to the chart above, you look at the visuals, it’s a different story altogether. This is the power of a well-designed Infographic. It’s not just designing, it needs visualization skills too.
Must-Dos for a great Geographic Infographic:
- Clearly label points on your graph to showcase data
- Heat maps are great for showing density in the area
As the name suggests, a comparison infographic is used to show a comparison between two or more categories like features and benefits comparison, customer service, or technical expertise comparison etc. This allows users to quickly understand the different aspects of the category showcased which can actually influence decision-making as well.
A usual trick to show comparison would be to draw out a chart and place the two content columns next to each other. While not a traditional design, this infographic has been designed with a twist to grab attention, post which understanding the comparison becomes easier.
Not all slides need to be designed with many design cues embedded. Sometimes, even a simple design-play powered by visualization can do wonders for your presentation.
Must-Dos for a great Comparison Infographic:
- Have two columns to show the comparison
- Use contrasting colors to show the difference
Data Visualization Infographic
Numbers tend to make a lot of people nervous and that’s why data visualization infographic is possibly the most used format when it comes to pitch decks. It’s a great tool in breaking down the numbers for the audience into bite-sized visuals that are easy to understand and assimilate. Representation of market size, traction so far, revenue models etc. are all great examples of data visualization infographics.
Again, in this example, the text and data that went as a fresh storyboard for the infographic have been mentioned below.
Digital Trends 2018
Digital and Mobile trends of users in 2018 highlight a major shift across the globe
- Total Population — 7.6 Billion
- Internet Users — 4.0 Billion
- Active Social Media Users — 3.19 Billion
- Unique Mobile Users — 5.13 Billion
- Active Mobile Social Media Users — 2.96 Billion
Mobile Based Web Traffic
Based on internet traffic from mobiles
- 2009 – 0.7%
- 2010 – 2.9%
- 2011 – 6.1%
- 2012 – 10.7%
- 2013 – 16.2%
- 2014 – 27.1%
- 2015 – 35.1%
- 2016 – 43.6%
- 2017 – 50.3%
- 2018 – 52.2%
The raw data in its present form is difficult for many to understand in entirety. But when it’s presented, like in the format shown below, it makes the data so much more comprehensible.
Must-Dos for a great Data Visualization Infographic:
- Understand the story behind the data and try & show that in your infographic
- Write a descriptive title that shows the context of the data
- Emphasize on key data points
Everyday information that may not necessarily deal with numbers still needs help with visualization. What would you like to look at or read more of? A 3-page health email notifying the benefits of ergonomics at the workplace or a well-designed infographic talking about the same thing. Likelihood of the email being read in its entirety are slim, while infographics will be a hit for sure. Here’s an example of one for a positive outlook. Nice, clean visuals, easily legible text, and great overall look and feel. Everything you need to ensure readers read through the text in its entirety.
Must-Dos for a great informational Infographic:
- All sections must have a clear heading to demarcate them
- Numbering the sections help with the flow
- Icons, images, logos, vectors all go a long way
A hierarchical infographic places the context from greatest to the least showing a myriad of data points. For example, the infographic shown below shows the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid. This type of an infographic is great for showcasing hierarchy across subject matter including organization, diversity, workforce divisions, profit sources, etc.
This one allows for the most creativity. A list-based infographic is the one wherein a dataset list is to be shared with the most visuals. The idea is to visually divide the text into smaller chunks with lots of visuals to make the reading engaging. Mentioned below is a great example of a list based infographic.
Must-Dos for a great list-based Infographic:
- Number the sections to help the flow of information
- Icons, images, logos, vectors all go a long way in highlighting key information
When creating Infographics, it is not only important to understand the data at the sametime one needs to visualize the best possible method to highlight the visuals in such a manner that it brings out the data in short bite-sized crisp information pieces.
Changing data to visuals imagery takes a great amount of skill and some spend months if not days to perfect their presentations. But with steady practice, the design sense can be improved. What do you think, do you need help with your presentations?
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