22 May FYI: How Infographics Bring Content to Life
Think back to high school, or varsity. What do you remember? Books, lots of them. And a whole lot of information you’ve never used (we’re looking at you, Pythagoras Theorem). Wouldn’t it have been easier if it was all cut down into smaller, easy to remember chunks? Probably. In general, humans have a tendency to choose the easier route in terms of consumption. Think fast food. That’s where the appeal of infographics falls in.
What are they?
The Internets have told us that an infographic – née Information Graphic – is a visual representation of information which aims to make data easily understandable at a first glance. This is simplified distilled information boosted by visual form; point form made real as visual aids. An example you may have never thought of are road signs – while not the linear type we are now used to digitally, they can be considered infographics. The verdict is still out on whether they can be considered ‘interactive’ (because they involve the user, and allow the user to flesh out the remainder of information if they so choose), but with their rate of response, we’d say they are. If you’re wondering where to place them, have a read of this.
Cut a long story short, what’s the big deal?
People like things. Especially bold, bright things. Illustrations particularly tickle the senses. This accounts why video content is so effective, and why Emojis are a big hit. To heavily paraphrase: “A well-designed infographic can simplify a complex subject and turn an otherwise boring topic into a captivating experience. It must ideally be visually engaging and contain a subject matter that is appealing to your target audience. Adding infographics to a website can be an effective digital strategy if supported by other engaging content across your website and social channels.”
According to Shelley Media Arts (who have given a very helpful infographic with stats here https://www.smamarketing.net/blog/are-infographics-still-effective), infographics are 30x more likely to be read than purely text-based articles. That’s a lot. Anything that allows the message to land and be absorbed at that rate must definitely be used by communicators and advertisers, don’t you think?
How we’ve used and evolved them
Some have said infographics are dead, but like newspapers, they aren’t, they just need to be evolved. At Shift Engage, we’re lovers of simplicity and this is exactly what the medium represents – a chance to simplify. The style, that gives the bare minimum is helpful to distill bulky information into bite-sized info, allows you to extract concise inspirational nuggets. Because we see it as a style (a whole technique rather than just a message form), we identified that it can be put to use in digital, print and video imagery as well.
Cimas Medical Aid and all subsidiaries launched their 24hr contact centre in 2016, to serve as an information hub. Named Cimas Connect, the messaging around this needed to reflect the ease of use and access to information. We applied the principles of the style, that is minimal text, predominantly primary colours (balanced by two complementary colours), navigation by series, controlled white space, non-descriptive character form, sans serif font – to both a video, email and print series. Each aspect was carefully considered for effectiveness e.g. the avoidance of race bias by using characteristic-free round forms. Through this, CimasConnect’s message can be applied to different media with simplicity, to encourage members to get in touch. Check out their Facebook page to see how Connect is making access easier for members.
Infographics For All! (?)
If infographics are so useful, can they be applied to every industry? Probably not. Like any medium for a message, there are some limitations to its effectiveness in various contexts.
For example, where there is massive fine print one really ought to read that can affect a person’s privacy say for example, in banking and finance, it is best to apply infographic style only info in ‘how to’ format just for top level information, nothing sensitive. Discretion is advised as with any summary – where information definitely needs further examination, for example about a major disease one may be diagnosed with, sending an email infographic won’t suffice. But if you’re raising awareness on a medical package, infographic away. You can find other scenarios here.
To repeat, be mindful of the content you’re creating, or in the case of infographics, curating. To be effective, an infographic must be
- precise, concise and succinct
- bold and bright
- relevant and useful
This comes from understanding your target audience and their needs. Only when you know what they may want, can you captivate them with great design (always) and simple, purposeful content.