What’s the fastest way to get your point across without confusing the average online user?
Infographics. An ingenious combination of visual stimulation and factual data; information graphics is one of the easiest and quickest ways for websites to educate their visitors. In general, ANYTHING could be transformed into an infographic. Whether it’s a complex modern marketing analysis or a comical satire of the human mind – people will find that it’s both useful and entertaining.
A Brief History
The concept behind an infographic is nothing new. If we look back at our history, man’s ancestors have been using visuals to portray convoluted ideas. As early as 30,000 BC, cave paintings and drawings were considered as the world’s first infographics as they chronicled important events during that time period. Charts, maps, and graphs could also be thought of as good examples. They presented elaborate concepts to the common folk through the use of lines, colors, shapes, and symbols.
In 1975, Edward Tufte and John Tukey, professors at Yale University and pioneers of information design, gave lectures on statistical graphics. They believed that pictures, when done right, can be used to portray complicated statistical data. Today, Tufte still graces his audience with seminars regarding data presentation.
Presently, there are many variations for the humble infographic. Some are as long as an entire web page; while others don’t require one to scroll. Most contain powerful statistical information gathered from comprehensive surveys and/or studies. A few are just simple comparison charts. You don’t need to be a Photoshop expert to make your very own infographic. Websites like Visual.ly and Piktochart provide templates for beginners and pros alike.
What It’s Made Of
Before bending traditional infographic rules, one must first know how to create a compelling one. In general, an infographic is made up of three parts:
- visual representation (color schemes, pictures, shapes, symbols, etc.)
- body content (references, texts, etc.)
- knowledge (facts, percentages, etc.)
Combined, these can make either a one-level type of infographic, which is great for a quick scan; OR a two-level type of infographic, which presents more in-depth analysis. The latter is often characterized by the use of compact icons, color coding, and contains a lot of statistical data. A basic infographic can turn into something complex as it delves deeper into a subject.
Why Make One
Interest over easy-to-read content (such as an infographic) has been rising since 2004. From 2010 to 2012, searches pertaining to infographics have risen to over 800%! But why? Studies have shown that humans can remember 90% of information if they were from visual sources. Technically, that means you’re more likely to recall a picture of a computer, than a computer’s name (especially if it’s not a well-known brand).
In an ever-changing society where data travels at the near speed of light and web content gets shared multiple times a day, it’s crucial for online companies to have their brand remembered. Users are more inclined to share an image than a mere link. A single picture has the power to provoke familiar feelings, convey a powerful message, and promote an idea. It’s also easily understandable in any language. Unlike words, an image can have the same meaning for different types of people anywhere in the globe.
We now know that pictures can move mountains – and drive sales. But what if we were to add other elements: such as animations? What we get is a new wave in infographics.
It’s no surprise that the humble infographic gets a makeover from highly creative people. Even a photo needs to be tweaked now and then to create impact. Especially today when more and more folks are going mobile, it’s hard to ignore this market niche. If a business can tap into this fast growing segment, it would definitely open up a lot of opportunities.
GIF, or Graphics Interchange Format is a simple image format that allows for interesting animations. Palette limitations however, make it challenging to apply for vivid illustrations or pictures with multiple colors. It looks great for simple icons, logos, or those with solid color schemes. Large or small businesses could all benefit from a well-planned gifographic. It can turn a plain concept into something fun, interactive, and stimulating.
Gifographics is more interactive than a static infographic. Movements capture the eye; thus, it can quickly grab a user’s attention in an instant. If put into a sequence, it can effectively tell a story. GIF images are highly versatile: they can be applied to mathematical data, scientific results, or market analysis. Want a good way for people to literally notice your numbers? Make them move!
And because it still carries the basic elements of an infographic in terms of size, style, and thought; it’s perfect for mobile users too. It’s fast enough to deliver any message, while making it easy for users to share on social networks. With one click, your gifographic could be on dozens of blogs, Twitter feeds, Facebook profiles, and Google+ hangouts. It sells quick.
Use With Caution
It sounds too good to be true – and it is. Use gifographics with caution as it’s not for everyone. If you haven’t taken the time to analyze your business’ needs or goals, using gifographics just to gain market attention might be destructive in the long run. Both infographics and gifographics have their own set of limitations. The biggest disadvantage of which, is file size.
High-definition images alone can eat up space – imagine if those were moving. Consider load times when incorporating gifographics into your web page. If a person is using a low-end server or is on an ancient browser, he or she might not be able to view your masterpiece. Also, impatient individuals could simply skip a gifographic if it doesn’t load fast enough.
Another factor against gifographics is SEO. Google values text more than images – so make sure that gifographics is just supporting data. Otherwise, Google won’t be able to crawl it and your content won’t be found. Worst – all that hard work is going to be buried under loads of other moving images. Assist your amazing gifographics using other content such as social media marketing, blog articles, and product inventory.
Get Ready For the Future
Whether you decide to utilize a simple infographic or its animated counterpart, what’s important is that it reflects what the company stands for. Let your gifographics add a new dimension to your brand. Let it excite your viewers as we all gear towards the future.
1. Concept behind an infographic – http://www.buzzfeed.com/shaleyhales/the-history-of-infographics-alzh
2. An infographic is made up of three parts – http://spyrestudios.com/the-anatomy-of-an-infographic-5-steps-to-create-a-powerful-visual/
3. Humans can remember 90% of information – http://www.searchenginejournal.com/6-benefits-using-infographics/70917/
4. More interactive than a static infographic – http://www.mairperkins.co.uk/why-you-need-an-animation/
5. Sells quick – http://www.quicksprout.com/2014/01/29/7-essential-ingredients-every-seo-campaign-needs/
6. Innovating infographics – http://www.seoexpertpage.com/gifographics-innovating-infographics/