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We live in an age of visual storytelling. The reason that our audience is receptive to visual message is because our brain is hardwired to be visual: people remember 80% of what they see, and only 20% of what they read.
Highly scientific content such as healthcare subject matters have a better chance of being remembered by your audience if presented as infographics. Case in point: organizations such as World Health Organization (WHO) and American Hospital Association (AHA) are producing a lot of infographics to promote awareness for health issues.
To help healthcare professionals like you to create better infographics without having to learn design, we put together an exhaustive list of resources on everything you need to know about infographic design: from the moment you start gathering health data, to the moment your infographic is published and shared online. We hope this will help your cause.
Visme Founder & DIY Design Guru
Humans naturally respond to stories. Stories are 22 times more memorable than facts alone, according to Standard Business School profession Jennifer Aaker. To get our message across, it's not enough to just cite facts and figures. We need a coherent story to tie everything together.
The power of infographics as a storytelling tool is in that it moves people both on the intellectual and emotional levels. While color, form and narrative helps your audience frame a story that they can relate to on the emotional plane, numbers and stats appeal to the rational brain to help reinforce their interpretation of the meaningful takeaway.
That's why we want to see more and more healthcare professionals to use infographic design in their storytelling to communicate better: your health facts will be better remembered, and your call-to-action will be more effective as a result. The power of influence starts with a great story.
The first step towards telling a good health story is to have credible health care data to back up your claims. Luckily, the internet is a goldmine of open health data waiting for you to explore.
The World Health Organization for instance publishes a wealth of public health data from country statistics to data report on every critical health issue such as mental health. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) site publishes datasets on a wide range of diseases. Healthdata.gov aggregates a few government health data resources and has an easy to navigate system for finding data on a specific topic. American Hospital Association (AHA) site publishes data on hospitals and health surveys.
In your initial data gathering, cross reference a few sources to make sure your data is valid and inclusive of all the facts you intend to highlight. For example, when we planned the infographic on "Truth about Fats", I consulted multiple data source including US Department of Agriculture data as well as CDC data.
Open Public Health Data Resources
Once you have gathered a library of primary and secondary data, it's time to review your raw data and separate the wheat from the chaff.
You won't need every single data point to tell a story. Choose the information that support a trend, a discovery, a surprise, or relationship between the parts and the whole.
One way to structure data is the LATCH model. LATCH standard for Location, Alphabet, Time, Category and Hierarchy. Invented by information architect Richard Wurman, this model is simple yet effective for organizing information with an overarching structure. For example, when we designed this infographic on American adult vegetable consumption, we found an interesting way to structure consumption data by location and visualize it with a heat map.
A good infographic sends one key message. Find the best structure to convey your key point. Bonus point: read this interview with information researcher Miriam Quick for expert tips on organizing information from research.
Resources on how to structure your data for infographic design
Now that you've cleaned your data, structured it for a clear story, the next step is to choose the best visual layout that will best present the story you want to tell.
There are several archetypes of infographic layouts including: mixed charts, informational/list, timeline, how to, process, comparision, location, photo-graphic, hierarchical, single chart, visualized numbers, and anatomical. In Chapter 2 of this free ebook, there is a detailed explanation of each layout type and what they are good for.
Choose the best layout that both suits your content and meets your communication goals. For example, if your content is mostly textual, you can consider informational/list layout. If your goal is to highlight a few key statistics, consider single chart or visualized numbers. An infographic maker like Visme have all the template types created for you, so all you need to do is browse all available templates in the library and select the one that's best for your task.
Resources on how to select the best layout for your health infographic
Whether your infographic is text-driven or primarily visual, there are ways to craft compelling narrative that adds to your overall visual story.
Writing the copy for your infographic isn't the same as writing an essay. While it would have been very useful to write down a story summary when you planning your content layout, when it comes to crafting the copy, your words need to be used sparingly.
Use a succinct title and introduction for your infographic. Add annotations to your charts when necessarily. Use text to provide context for visualized elements such as icons and photographs.
Most importantly, help your readers identify a focal point by using a visual hierarchy. Font sizes and weight can signify importance in textual information. Use colors, shapes, contrast, white space and other visual cues to draw attention to what's important. Details such as font combinations can make or break a good infographic. Here is a short video on how to find the best font pairs.
Bonus point: Read our interview with data storytelling influencer Cole Nussbaumer to get Cole's expert tips on how to craft a compelling story with data.
Resources on how to craft a narrative for infographic design
Let the World HearYour Data Story About Health
Once your infographic design is finished and approved by stakeholder, its worldly success has yet to begin. To let your visual story on important health topics to be heard, you need to put it in front of the right audience on the right channels.
Study your target audience for your healthcare content: what content do they consume? What social channel are they most actively on? What online forums do they participate? What's trending in the healthcare space right now? Place your message in front of the your audience on the channels they are mostly engaged with.
In addition, there are many infographic directories you can submit your health infographics to be discovered and distributed. You can also reach out to influencers in your chosen niche to leverage their following. In this eBook chapter 4, you will find more details on how to generate buzz for you well-designed infographics.
Resources on how to share and promote your infographic online.