The love, hate or indifference of infographics

The question for this week is all about infographics and the love, hate or indifference of them. So what is an infographic? An infographic is a visual representation of information or data presented for quick and easy consumption. This week I felt was an extension of Assignment 1 and the design of a persona and the transformation of information into a visual form.
So the ultimate question “Do I love or hate infographics?” Absolutely I love them! But why? Well, I believe from my own personal experience that an infographic is an easy way to represent a set of complex information, statistics, data etc. I personally absorb more information when it is represented in a visual form than I do I if I have to read a paragraph with the same information. This is supported by a study and article which identified that 90% of what we remember is based on a visual element.
There was another article which identified five reasons why infographics are beneficial for businesses. The reasons can be separated into two categories: Efficiencies: it’s quick and easy to read and Entertaining and Engaging: it’s fun to look at and even fun to design. I think this article really identifies how easy it is for people to utilise infographics.
But are they really that effective? I have found in my job providing images and a series of statistical information in a graphical form engages participants longer than if I displayed a paragraph depicting the same information. This is something that has only recently changed as we’ve been trying to find new ways to show the information we gather. I recently conducted a project where I analysed an organisations document management practices and as a result prepared a 100 page report. This report detailed a series of statistics gathered from interviews, reconciled systemic issues, detailed the systems used across the organisation, developed recommendations and much more. I had to prepare a 1 hour presentation to senior executives of the organisation to get across the findings of my project. Putting all of this information into a presentation would have been death by PowerPoint and not appropriate for my audience. So I though developing a series of mini infographics for the presentation allowed me to reduce the amount of ‘words’ on the presentation and engage with the audience further. This was not an easy feat but as a result the presentation was engaging and I kept people focused on what I found throughout the entire presentation and this is one of the reasons why I love infographics.
Reflecting on the activity this week and the creation of an infographic engaged that creative side of my mind that I don’t get to use too much. What I struggled with for this activity was picking a topic! There are so many things I could actually do and didn’t know where to start. I wanted to find a topic which had a range of elements associated with the same set of data. I looked at a few different options but didn’t quite fit what I was thinking, until I was talking to my sister-in-law about the impending birth of her 2nd baby and thought perfect! So I looked into ABS for the birth statistics across Australia and bingo – I hit jackpot! The ABS had a series of information on a number of pages on their website. While they do use a series of graphs and tables, there is a lot of information gathered and presented. As standard with ABS, the information which based in paragraph and different information contained within different sections of the website. So this information was a perfect set of data for my infographic. You can see below the infographic I created or click here for a bigger one:

Infographic

Similarly, with my assignment, I really enjoyed this activity and feel the more I use infographics the better I will be at displaying the information.

14 thoughts on “The love, hate or indifference of infographics

  • This is a great infographic, and I agree with you that they can be much more effective than the traditional ‘Death by PowerPoint’ that many of us are used to! There are so many ways that data can be shared outside of an excel spreadsheet. I am sure that there are people who love seeing rows of figures, but like you I am not one of them.

  • Thanks Kathleen! I really enjoy making difficult data easy to understand. The funny thing about the endless spreadsheets was that ABS provided a spreadsheet which contained a range of data. While fit for purpose not very interesting to look 🙂 I don’t know how many presentations I have been to where I can read what they’re going to talk about and so my attention waivers. Ps that’s why I love your lectures and slides – they keep me focused on listening 🙂

  • Hi Janine,
    What a great post! I am certainly a visual learner and I like infographics too. If something is presented on a visual format, chances are that I will look at it and understand it better than if it were just a set of dot points on a PowerPoint. Great idea on using the ABS to create the infographic, which looks great and very easy to read. I am curious – what software did you use to create it?

    • Hi Paola and thanks, it was such an exciting activity 🙂

      It’s incredible what we notice and don’t notice when presented with information and so many ways in which we absorb information. I have used graphs and charts a lot in my reports, but this is taking them to a whole new level 🙂

      I racked my brain for ages to find something that suited and attempted a few things but nothing really had a lot of the typical ‘data’ that gets transferred but ABS was perfect (and there are quite a few different options).

      I used CorelDraw to design the infographic, it’s a very manual program with each little piece an individual shape – time consuming but really quite handy. My husband is a designer by trade so I have picked up some of the hints and tips from him 🙂

      J.

  • Hi Janine,

    Very interesting article and yes I am a big fan of infographic as well. There was once I was in a conference and the speaker presented her CV in a infographic as a summary which I find very interesting. Working in data analytics means infographic plays a key role in summarizing actionable data for management for sure in the current trend of the industry.

    • Hi Steve, I have seen a number of resume’s in infographics and think they’re extremely engaging, however I wonder whether they are traditionally more relevant for the ‘creative’ industries? I do think they would be a good way to show a snapshot – I might have a go and see what it looks like 🙂 Data analytics, how interesting! The perfect space to be using the data for infographics! I’d love to see one you’ve done in the past.

  • Thank you Janine for sharing your interesting post.
    I liked the article which is written by Irfan Ahmed, it has amazing infograghics that explain why we should use infographics 🙂
    It is a good way to make the information in a certain topic more concise and precise in visual form, particularly in topics that have a lot of statistics.

    • You’re welcome 🙂 I have to admit that article was both insightful and really interesting to read and the infographics are really engaging. I wonder whether there is a job out there just going around to organisations creating infographics! Now that would be a fun job!

  • I love your infographic, it gives all the important information and engages the reader without overwhelming them with facts. I like the cute babies on your poster, so sweet. You combined graphs and facts in this poster well, I’m a visual learner and this sort of presentation I can relate to. I think this is a tool for young students in high school to learn to help them visualise their work for assignments, maybe libraries should be teach this sort of stuff, it would make study less boring.

    • Thanks Lisa! I know right, they are cute 🙂 I had fun designing the babies and all of the little elements for this one. I completely agree, knowing how to analyse data to find key trends and knowing the right way to represent it can be a fine art and it can be done well or can be done poorly.

  • Hi @janine,
    I absolutely love your infographic, since it provides key findings in a graphically appealing form, without overloading the infographic with information. To my mind infographics have a huge potential to visualize collections of complex information and make them easily understandable for the masses. While infographics can be a very useful tool to convey information, it is worth to be noted that it needs a lot of time and effort to create them. As a result, I would like to thank you for your post and the insights I was able to derive.
    Raphael

  • Great infographic Janine and post. I agree infographics are a great way to get information across. I used to work in offender health and we had several clients with poor literacy or low concentration. We found putting up infographic posters in the waiting rooms and living areas was far more effective than supplying the woman with written information. We were lucky we had strong links with Hepatitis Queensland and indigenous health groups, so we got a good supply of posters. I also think it works in other settings, whenever I’m waiting, whether in a GP’s waiting room or on the train, I always read the infographics in the area.

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