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In the last two episodes I talked about what make a good infographic and the types of infographics to help you build a foundation before we talk about the process and steps to follow in creating your infographic.
In this episode I’m going to go through the steps to follow when creating your infographic which is to establishing the ground work for the design and population of your infographic. It’s pretty easy to follow and will help you save time and frustration in creating your final infographic.
This is the third part of A Beginner’s Guide to Creating Shareable Infographics. And if you watched the last two episodes, on part 1, I was talking about what makes a good infographic and in the second episode, I talked about the types of infographics. And today in part 3, I want to talk to you about the steps to follow before you create your actual infographic. This video is probably going to be about 12 to 15 minutes long and I’m going to go through it and cover as much as I can. And bear with me.
1.DEFINE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
Number 1, this is very similar to another topic that I did where it was about how to create compelling presentations. And in that one, I talked in detail about how you need to define your target audience. Because your target audience is what is important in regards to the tone and the way that you’re going to be presenting.
For example, you need to establish who you’re communicating to. Is this going to be a sales type infographic? Is it going to be for the marketing community? Is it going to be for a corporate community and utilized internally? Or is it going to be for example, for academics, in terms of teachers and students or presented at a university? Depending on that, you need to establish the tone of your infographic.
2. DEFINE YOUR GOALS
And number 2, you have to define your goals. After you establish your audience, you’ve got to define your goals. What does your infographic going to be about? You need to ask yourself a question, what exactly do I want to achieve with this infographic? Because depending on what the answer is, is going to tailor towards the type of infographic, the formatting and everything else is going to follow.
You want to reveal hidden trends and patterns using data? Or are you going to be breaking down complex data into snackable, easy to digestible format? Or are you providing your audience with a step by step guideline, as far as how to do things? For example, how to create an infographic. That would be a how-to guide. Or are you going to be raising awareness for a specific issue or a cause? Or perhaps you want to create a comprehensive go-to visual resource on a specific topic? Or maybe you want to compare two or more products or concepts? Perhaps you want to compare the iPhone to a Samsung phone. That would be a comparison type of infographic that I talked about in the last episode about the types of different infographics. Maybe you want to translate a story such as a brand story into a timeline infographic. In that case, you will be utilizing a timeline format.
3. DEFINE THE MEDIUM
Once you established that, you want to move on to defining the medium. What is the medium you’re going to be presenting on? This is actually pretty important because depending on the medium, it’s going to tailor towards the size and even the height of your infographic. You want to establish that to get into a little bit more detail. If you look here, the longer format… Now let’s say you’re presenting and embedding this into a website, you’re going to be dealing with an infographic that could pretty much scroll as tall as you want it to be. Perhaps 800 pixels wide but it could be 1600 pixels tall. But when dealing with a principle version, if you want to actually download and print it, then perhaps you’re dealing with an 8 and a half by 11 sheet and it may be multiple pages but you need to make sure your infographic cuts off at a certain point so it does not bleed over to the next pages.
If you want to establish the actual medium itself, additionally the image resolution, when dealing with web-based infographics, the resolution does not have to be as high the resolution as perhaps if you are going to do it for print. That’s something else to consider. But typically these days, most infographics are online, they’re embedded, they’re shared online and so you really don’t have to worry so much about the image resolution and so on.
4. CHOOSE YOUR TOPIC
Now, number 4, you want to choose your topic. And when it comes to choosing your topic, it’s a lot of a process, very similar process to writing an effective piece of communication – a report or a book and so on. The procedure is not that much different. First, you got to organize your ideas, you want to establish your thesis statement and then you want to support your thesis with arguments.
Now, in terms of the thesis statement, you know, this is kind of your main idea and your opinion around it. And you want to back it up with data. You have a certain opinion, but it’s very important in terms of infographics you’re dealing with data and figures and stats, so you want to utilize those, conduct research and back it up with actual data. Those are key elements for your infographic.
5. FIND THE RIGHT INFORMATION
Finding the right information is the next step, number 5. You know, typically sometimes you may be repurposing infographic based on an article. If you’re not doing that, that means you don’t really have the information. You need to actually mine the data. Google is going to be your best friend, it is a great starting point. You can pretty much find anything online but it is important that the information you have is subjective. If you don’t find the right information or it’s not concrete enough then you probably want to tap into recent public surveys or polls. Or you can conduct your own, you can tap into recent press releases and you can even go as far as doing your own interviews with certain subject matter that would be the professionals or would have the information, would be the experts in that field.
6. PROCESS YOUR DATA
Now, next is the process of your data. Here’s a thing, you collect a lot of information and data and infographics, you do your research and so data is going to be kind of in a raw format. You need to be able to take that information and you need to be able to actually tailor it into an easy to use format. You may have an excel format or maybe in a table. You need to get it down into excel and then download or export as a CSV file. CSV is basically another format where you can just file, save as an excel and then you can take that data, you can pretty much import too many other programs.
For example, our own product Visme allows you to take CSV and then import it or copy-paste cells right into it and then pull up your chart where you can connect it to live data. So that information that you have, you need to clean it up and have it into an easy to use format that you can do things with them.
7. FIND THE STORY IN THE DATA
Now, let’s go to number 7. This is where you got to find your story in the data. Now, to put into perspective, you want to actually interview your data. Treat your data as if it is a person or individual. Because by doing that you will be able to find a story worth telling. So you want to ask questions of your data. You want to first clean it up and actually format it so it is easy to understand and then you want to make sense of it. You can do that by actually looking for patterns and trends. And those patterns and trends are going to allow you to actually form your story and then from there on, create your infographic. Let’s go through some examples.
You maybe looking for changes over time. The data may show you trends and changes over a period of time. It might be where there are a difference and similarities between items where you can compare things together as a result. It might be where there’s a composition of a whole. The make up or composition of something and perhaps it’s a last but not least, it could be the relationship between two or more variables.
Let’s go on into analyzing the trends. You want to use visuals to find trends. And in that area, you can tap into bar charts and line charts. They are actually great for showing you how to analyze trends. Let’s look at an example here. What we have here is a line graph. And in this line graph, we are looking at the America’s Divorce Rate over the last 30 years. Notice that it is not 2 year or 3 years. It is actually multiple years. Because based on that line graph, you can actually create an actual trend over a period of time. You can see the trend has decreased over the last 30 years.
Or you want to actually compare values. When you compare values, you can use bar charts and you can use line charts. In this example here, one important thing is you want to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. Not apples to oranges. What do I mean by that? If you look here, it is a number of homicides in the U.S vs. Kenya. In the before chart up here, it is showing you that there were over 12,000 homicides in the U.S and there was actually less in Kenya. But that is not the whole story. If you look at the second graph down here, This is one is actually showing you that per capita over a hundred thousand, that the rate of homicide is 3.9% in the U.S vs. the 5.9% in Kenya. That’s what I mean in terms of comparing apples to apples.
Also, you want to show the individual parts that make up a whole. Now by that, in terms of pie charts would be a good way to go. Pie charts – they are useful when you are dealing with a hundred percent of something, it is a piece of a pie. 30%, 40%, 30%, that’s a piece that comes to a hundred. But that does not work that way in this example. When that doesn’t add up to a hundred, then you don’t want to use a pie chart, you want to tap into something else. In this case, you look at it, they’re not adding up 100%. Utilizing actually a bar chart to actually look at the future changes in the workplace.
Now, also the human eye is not as adept to interpreting differences in the area as it is to comparing, let’s say single dimension. In the example here, you can see the comparing numbers with the drastic differences and magnitude, so there’s a large area that is actually 10 squares by 10 that represents 100. And then you look at it down to about 25 of that is the candidates that were hired on site and then from that, it is actually down to 9. You can clearly see with an actual certain area of a real estate, the actual trend that we are able to interpret that more easily.
Now, also you want to comprehend the relationship between data sets. For that, you can use line charts and scatter plots and you can also tap into bubble charts. Correlation also does not necessarily mean causation. In this case, we are looking at a line chart, actually there are two and there is looking at the divorce rate in Maine vs. the per capita consumption of margarine in the U.S. Even though it looks like there is a correlation, it’s not really causation because they actually have nothing to do with each other. You want to be careful in terms of the way you compare your data.
9. HOW TO WRITE COPY FOR YOUR INFOGRAPHIC
Number 9, how to write copy for your infographic. And this is what it comes down to you have established your target audience and that allows you to define the tone, you know the primary purpose of your infographic. And also you have established your thesis statement which you’re going to back up with data. It is important that it comes one big idea. Because that one big idea is what you’re utilizing in the infographic. infographics are supposed to be snackable, so you’re really sticking with one focal point primarily.
As far as the way that you’re going to flesh out your narrative, very similar to the way that I talked about how to create presentations. Compelling presentations, you actually are going to, the way you tell your story, I talked about where it’s like a curve road. It’s not a straight word, boring, you can actually have ups and downs, it reaches certain climax and then you have your reversal and then at the end, you have the resolution. You kind of follow the similar thing but in the case of infographics, you’re actually using numbers, chart, and figures to bind your visual story together.
Here’s an example. You want to weave the engaging story that uses data. The data is what’s going to be the actual determination here. We look at the World’s Deadliest Animals and we’ve all hear about shark attacks all the time but you hear very little about mosquitoes and how many people they kill a year. But surprisingly, sharks only kill about 10 people on average per year, lions, hippos, crocodiles, you add them all up, they don’t come close to the number of people that are over 750,000 that are killed by mosquitoes every year. So you’re leading to an actual surprising conclusion in this infographic. That’s what you want to achieve.
You also want to craft an airtight argument. You want to use facts and figures to back up your statement such as the example I showed you. And you want to you know, use an idea map that will help you achieve that. Look at this example here, what you’re doing is you have a lot of ideas, you come up with a few and then from there on you work your way up to one main idea. That main idea can actually be the focal point of your infographic. And of course, you know, based on the target audience, are you educating? Are you entertaining? Are you inspiring or you’re persuading your audience? Because base on that you’re going to craft your copy in accordance with your intended goal.
Similar to creating the outlines, other outlines, infographic outlines, you follow the same procedure. You want to just take all the extra content out, focus on the main statements, it needs to be succinct, concise and it needs to go hand in hand with the visual elements. Look at this infographic here, there’s a title, there’s an introduction, there’s the body and there’s the footer. The body could be as long as it wants to be but you start with a title. And most people when they see an infographic, they pay attention to the title first. The title needs to be catchy, it needs to be an informative headline and it needs to be interesting enough that the user actually wants to scroll down and reads the rest. Next you go into the actual stating of problem in the introduction and also why your audience should care. If you don’t connect with your audience between the title and that statement, very likely you’re going to have a drop in the interaction and engagement and basically defeats the purpose of the infographic.
And then next you want to go into the body. In the body, you want to develop the narrative and the arguments. You want to have concise text and very important that you utilize visuals where you can to support your text and your content. So short text, you want to highlight with stats and figures and with visual cues.
And of course, last but not least is the footer and there’s where you’re going to have a complete list of information sources, the references and of course the credit to yourself if you create the infographic.
There you have it. That was the 9 steps to follow before you create your infographic. In the next topic, I’m going to go a little bit deeper and we will get into the design process of the infographic. So bear with me, see you next time.
Here’s the slide deck used in the video lesson