A Guest Post by
5 Traits of Great Infographics
The blogosphere makes it very clear that some people love infographics, and others hate them. These days, it seems that anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of basic vector graphics software believes that they can and should contribute to the ever-growing number of infographics floating around the internet. After flipping through hundreds of infographics and trying my hand at a few of my own, I’ve discovered some common characteristics of those that succeed, and of those that fail.
- A successful infographic is targeted. The creator knows what the content is about, who will care about that content, and what they want to see. A successful infographic with medical statistics, geared toward physical therapists will look drastically different than one about fast food that’s geared toward soccer moms. Successful infographics are not one-size-fits-all. ( This is good. | This is not so good. )
- A successful infographic is accurate. At the bottom of all infographics is (or should be) a list of sources from whence the author gathered the information. When this list contains links to .gov and .edu sites instead of Wikipedia articles and TMZ articles, it makes a difference. People notice that kind of thing. Successful infographics are painstakingly researched, citing public domain scientific journals, published research documents and statistics reports from research agencies. ( This is good | This is not so good. )
- A successful infographic is navigable. A person never just looks at the entire Mona Lisa. Studies show that they always start at her face, then move down her arms to her impressively detailed hands. The point is that when we look at an image, our eyes move through it, one thing at a time. Successful infographics provide a clear path and discernible cues to show the viewer what to look at next. ( This is good | This is not so good. )
- A successful infographic is novel. It’s not enough just to be informative anymore. Infographics that get shared have a sense of novelty to them – something their readers haven’t seen anywhere else. Whether it’s infographics, online videos, blog posts or flash games, novelty always boosts shareability. Successful infographics are designed to transcend the mere combination of graphics and text. (This is good | This is not so good )
- A successful infographic is simple. If someone is overwhelmed by colors, massive text blocks, giant diagrams and in-your-face pie charts, they’ll bounce before they finish reading the title. Simple is not always boring. Successful infographics don’t get in their own way – they make the information easy to find and easier to read, and the graphics are a supplement to the info, not the other way around. (This is good | This is not so good. )
At the end of the day, a successful infographic is just like any other piece of quality content. It must be relevant, accurate, fresh, engaging and unique. In a world where people spend hours on end scouring the internet for things to share on their Facebook walls and Twitter feeds, a successful infographic is a powerful tool for building links, engaging users, spreading information and promoting your brand. The key is to take time to hash out the details and make sure it’s truly worth sharing.
Thank you, Ryan! Successful infographics can really add to a site’s appeal.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!