Messages are everywhere — at movie theaters, under bridges, down grocery store aisles, in bathrooms, atop buildings, and on billboards and buses. They follow us to bed and we see them when we wake up. As the Grinch grumbled, “All the noise, noise, noise, noise!”
We now receive five times the information we used to in 1986, according to Graphnet.com. So how do we break through the clutter?
One increasingly popular way is to create infographics, which are visual representations that convey information in a fun, compelling and digestible format. Interactive infographics, too, include video animation, links and other elements. You might say infographics are fact sheets on steroids.
Five quick facts about infographics include:
- High-quality infographics are 30 times more likely to be read than text articles, according to a study by Customer Magnetisum.
- The use of visualized information on the Internet has increased 9,900 percent since 2007.
- Infographics increase Web traffic by 12 percent.
- Color visuals increase readership by 80 percent.
- Journalists love them.
Infographics in some fashion have been around for thousands of years, but the art and science of visualization has recently evolved with the rise of social media, especially Pinterest. Infographics are particularly useful today in promoting public health. For example, the American Public Health Association, in partnership with Piktochart, hosted a National Public Health Week Infographic Contest.
Infographics are excellent tools for communicating health disparities and research findings. Search the Internet and you will find many infographics that illustrate health conditions and diseases, like diabetes, heart disease and cancer, that disproportionately impact ethnic minority populations.
The best health infographics tell a story and heighten attention about serious barriers that may cause an increased burden of disease, disability and death among vulnerable populations.
Here are five tips for creating knockout infographics that break through the noise:
1. Be a storyteller.
Think carefully about a powerful story that you want to communicate and why. Convey a main idea. Are you increasing awareness about the deadly dangers of tobacco use or the benefits of regular exercise?
Give meaning to your story by painting a “visual canvas” that strikes an emotional chord with target audiences. Do you have a beginning, middle and end?
Present a logical flow. Share something new with readers that they didn’t already know. Offer novel insights.
2. Gather engaging content.
Infographics are filled with interesting and timely facts and anecdotes that support your narrative.
Do your homework. Find the latest facts and statistics that advance your story. Look at multiple sources and different ways of presenting information.
3. Blend style with substance.
Select an eye-catching look and feel or template that underpins your main concept. Stick to your select style and limit your color and font choices for consistent messaging. Short and sweet headlines grab attention.
Wise use of white space eases readability. Choose facts and bits of information that accentuate your big idea. Make your infographics stand out with fascinating content and creative design.
Infographics come in many sizes. But the ideal width should not be more than 600 pixels wide to prevent resizing and less than 5,000 pixels tall to avoid unnecessary scrolling. Check guidelines for best dimensions. Use a compressed JPEG file to cut load times.
4. Cite sources.
At the end of your infographic, list your sources with URL addresses and links. Confirm facts. This gives your infographic an added element of audience trust and credibility. The more reliable your sources are, the more likely people are to share them.
5. Share and promote them.
Share your infographics with the world. Post them to your social media channels. Embed them in your blogposts or website. Send them to influential bloggers. Email them to your contacts. Include them as part of your online media kit.