The Benefits of Using Infographics

The most common definition of Infographic describes it simply as a visual representation of information and data. By combining elements of text image, chart, diagram and, more recently, video, an infographic is an effective tool to present data and explain complex issues in a way that can quickly lead to insight and better understanding.

Infographics can be found on all sorts of websites from news to business to entertainment sites. Using them on a site can provide a lot of benefits both for the site’s creator and the people who use it. They are easily shareable and look great pretty much no matter where you post them. In fact, they are liked and shared three times more than any other kind of content on social media. When people share your infographic on social media, it will drive more traffic to your site and expose more people to your brand. While you’ll probably a major spike in shares when you first put out an infographic, people will continue to share long after you created it, creating long-term, as well as short-term, benefits.

People will also be able to process the information on your webpage much faster if it’s presented with visuals. This can be crucial to getting people to stay on your site. If visitors can’t quickly determine what a site is about, they often click away and try another one. People can comprehend visuals 60,000 times faster than text, which is why infographics are an ideal way to convey information.

If you’re convinced that your website needs some infographics, follow these tips to get started.

Make them easy to share – One of the most useful attributes of infographics is how easily they can be shared and how well they perform when they are. Make sure visitors can share your creations with a simple click in order to get the most out of your graphics.

Emphasize images – If you have to choose between more images or more text, choose images. People tend to spend more time looking at the graphics than reading the text on a webpage. The minimal text will make them more visually appealing and probably easier to understand as well.

Get creative – Infographics are a perfect opportunity for exercising your creative muscles. Have fun with it and make it interesting to viewers. Come up with a few ideas for your graphic and choose the one that grabs your attention the most and that makes you the most excited to share it.

Keep it simple – It can be tempting to try pack as much into an infographic as you can, especially once you get those creative juices flowing. However, they’re most effective when they’re kept relatively simple. Infographics that are cluttered or confusing won’t work. People should be able to see them and understand them quickly.

The Surprisingly Long History of the Infographic

The idea of visualizing data is old: After all, that’s what a map is—a representation of geographic information—and we’ve had maps for about 8,000 years. But it was rare to graph anything other than geography. Only a few examples exist: Around the 11th century, a now-anonymous scribe created a chart of how the planets moved through the sky. By the 18th century, scientists were warming to the idea of arranging knowledge visually. The British polymath Joseph Priestley produced a “Chart of Biography,” plotting the lives of about 2,000 historical figures on a timeline. A picture, he argued, conveyed the information “with more exactness, and in much less time, than it [would take] by reading.”

A redacted version of Priestley’s Chart of Biography (1765)

Still, data visualization was rare because data was rare. That began to change rapidly in the early 19th century, because countries began to collect—and publish—reams of information about their weather, economic activity and population.