There’s a lot to be said for the power of visuals. Using infographics is a great way to spice up your content and simplify complex subjects. And when you use them correctly online, they can also increase user engagement.
Creating the best possible infographic
When producing an infographic, you first need to answer four key questions:
- Who is my target audience?
- What information do I need it to convey – that is, what’s the topic, and what do I want readers to get out of it? Be as clear as possible. You don’t want to confuse your readers.
- How much content will suffice? You don’t want the infographic to be so long that readers lose interest, nor do you want to bombard them with too much detail. You want it to be a piece they can read and remember easily.
- How will I make it flow smoothly? This is perhaps the most difficult question to answer when designing an infographic. Connecting all of the content is not a task for the faint-hearted. But don’t be afraid! Just be sure to follow a clear and systematic structure that displays information in a concise manner. If the information is highly technical and it’s ambiguous or longwinded, you’ll likely lose your readers.
If you’ve answered all these questions to your satisfaction, it’s time to roll out the design.
Dos and don’ts of infographic design
The following is an example of a well-thought-out infographic.
This process infographic – a flowchart about underwriting – is easy to read and easy to navigate. Clearly, the target audience is people wanting to learn about the underwriting process, which the header unambiguously defines. What’s more, the writing is concise, the steps methodical, and the information accurate; thus, what could have been a long, drawn-out, cumbersome explanation is both enjoyable and informative. Having this type of content on your website alongside other types of content will help optimise your viewers’ experience.
Compare the underwriting infographic with the following not-so-well-thought-out example:
Credit: Atlanta Falcons
An American football team, the Atlanta Falcons, had to re-create its entire infographic after an embarrassing publicity nightmare. Newspapers in the UK reported on how the team had clearly misplaced the location of London, with the infographic pointing instead to Spain. So, a piece of content that was supposed to be fun unfortunately ended up unleashing jokes about Americans’ poor geography knowledge. Accuracy is critical to your credibility, your reputation, and ultimately, your success.
Keep in mind, too, that you should not create infographics on their own. It’s important to have corresponding written content to complement them. The reason behind this is that search engine algorithms thrive on items such as keywords, word count, and relevance. Because infographics are files uploaded to a web page, the algorithms are unable to pick up the content within the file. So, uploading a beautiful infographic on its own is a flawed and futile approach.
So, are infographics your friends? Well if you can thoroughly answer the above four key questions, you’re halfway there. If you then pair those answers with a clean design and relevant written content, then yes, they’re probably your new best friends. Remember: It’s not just about having an amazing-looking graphic; it’s about the content both inside it and bolstering it. Stick to this strategy and you’ll have your readers engaging in no time.