We’re big fans of infographics. When done well, an infographic can make a complex concept much more memorable and understandable in the eyes of the reader.
Shown here is an example of an infographic we created for Avvo.com, with a cosmetic surgery theme. (Click here to link to the full interactive experience.) We’ll use it to demonstrate a few of the best practices when it comes to creating an infographic.
1. Don’t try to communicate too much.
Your infographic should have a central theme or idea that’s fairly narrow in focus. For example, the goal with the Avvo infographic was to demystify the world of cosmetic surgery and show just how surprisingly popular the individual procedures are. Everything within the graphic was designed to support that idea.
2. Have a visual hierarchy.
This goes hand-in-hand with Point #1. Focus the content around one dominant graphic, and if necessary, supplement it with smaller “satellite” graphics that communicate related points.
3. Tell them something they don’t already know.
There’s not much value in illustrating a certain fact or statistic that’s already common knowledge. For example, you wouldn’t do an infographic explaining how popular Justin Bieber is among teen girls. The topic of our infographic, cosmetic surgery, is a complex and often misunderstood subject, which meant that the statistics shown in the infographic were, in and of themselves, surprising. Beyond that, we included a fun factoid to ride along with the stats for each procedure, which upped the “did you know” factor.
4. Interactive is best.
The newest trend is infographics that morph or move upon click or rollover. It offers a far more engaging user experience than does a static image. The full, interactive version of our cosmetic surgery infographic is designed so that when clicking on a menu of the top cosmetic procedures, the user sees an animated “before and after” morphing depiction of that particular procedure. It’s best, by the way, to not build interactive graphics in Flash, which can result in frustratingly slow image loading. It also alienates mobile users and can also negatively affect search performance.