How to make an infographic that won’t make your viewers recoil in horror

You’ve probably been in this situation before, too: you see a cool infographic online, you think it’s fascinating and informative, and then when you share it on social media, people react as if you just showed them an episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos. Why does this happen? Are infographics unpopular among your friends and family? Or is there something about your design that could be improved?

A picture might be worth a thousand words, but it takes more than two seconds to understand

Infographics are powerful, but they also take a long time to create. What’s more, if you don’t collaborate with a designer on their creation, there is a high chance you will wind up making ugly graphics. Because of these issues, you may be tempted to skip out on doing infographics altogether; however, there is another option: collaborative infographics. Collaborative infographics allow you to split up tasks and get help from others. This can speed up production and ensure your finished product looks great. If you want to learn how to start creating infographics, here are some tips for getting started. To People That Want To Start IMAGE SHARING But Are Affraid To Get Started.

There are 8 elements every infographic needs

copy, color, tone, voice, links, visuals, icons, and structure. These elements combine to create a collaborative infographic design. If you focus on these elements during the infographic development process then you’ll be able to ensure a piece of work will be approachable to readers. Collaborative infographics are meant to be dynamic and inviting – it shouldn’t feel like you’re reading a scientific text book when trying to find facts. Instead, use persuasive words and colorful images to show off your content. Be sure to include a call-to-action at some point in your infographic so that users know what they should do next after they’ve finished reading through all of your data.

Don’t fall into the trap of being too literal

Sometimes, you’ll find yourself trying to explain something complex through illustration. Be sure not to get too literal here—it will confuse rather than clarify. Instead, try using clean, simple lines and shapes that are intuitive and easily understood by even those unfamiliar with your subject matter. It’s also important to keep text sizes at a minimum when you’re mapping out an image—cluttering it up can be very confusing for viewers who are trying to pick out specific details. In fact, many infographics eschew words altogether; they rely on images alone to communicate ideas. And there’s nothing wrong with that! In fact, it might just help your audience remember what they learned.

Use numbers & infographics together

Infographics are a great way to take complex data, package it neatly and then present it in a way people can absorb. Even though you may have used numbers to create these visualizations, remember that many people will be encountering them for the first time. Be sure they are clear and direct. If you have any doubt about whether or not something is comprehensible, try reading it out loud — if you don’t understand what you’re saying, odds are good others won’t either. When you write infographics, keep words to a minimum; use graphics and charts instead.

Order your elements strategically

The quickest way to get yourself into trouble when making an infographic is to slap all of your information on a canvas with no order or hierarchy. Doing so makes for a cluttered mess and one that’s going to be difficult for readers to parse (and as you know from our primer on reading flow, a reader can only take in so much information at once). So what can you do? If you have space constraints, think about cutting down unnecessary data points, or use charts and graphs instead of words. If you don’t have space constraints, consider ordering your elements based on how important they are to understanding your topic—most important first. You could also organize by time: chronological order is great if it works with your topic; numerical order might work better if you want to show progress over time; alphabetical order may work well if you want to compare several different topics side-by-side.

Start with a sketch (if appropriate)

Brainstorm different ways of presenting your data. Begin with a harsh sketch and go from that point. If you’re not comfortable working with visuals, it can help to use pen and paper rather than a computer for brainstorming. Once you have some ideas, translate them into wireframes and then move on to graphics creation software like Photoshop or Illustrator. (You can also create infographics without drawing anything at all—see Using Word Clouds below.) You may need to refine your idea multiple times before getting to a final version. Consider sharing your work-in-progress with friends and colleagues; they might have helpful feedback on how to improve it.

Keep it simple & keep it short!

With infographics, there’s a tendency to want to throw everything and anything you can at your audience. This can result in a confusing or bloated mess that doesn’t tell its story well. Keep it simple by focusing on one data set and creating one visual for each step of the process. You can always add more visuals later if needed. And keep it short! A good rule of thumb is to keep your piece between 200-500 words—the shorter, the better. You don’t have time for lengthy explanations; people will read as much as they need to get their point across and then move on. If you do need more room, use images instead of text wherever possible so that you don’t lose your readers (or their attention spans).

Use images and icons instead of text whenever possible

The more visual information you include, such as tables, charts, and illustrations or photos, will give your reader something visual to look at and pay attention to. The text has a tendency of just blurring together and getting overlooked easily by readers who are bored. Images don’t do any of those things. They capture people’s attention immediately, engage them more in what they’re reading and draw them into your post. In fact, studies have shown that including images can increase conversion rates on landing pages by 80%. When it comes to infographics and data visualization, images can be even more powerful because they take advantage of our brain’s ability to process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. That means we retain much more information when we see it rather than read it. But there is one thing about infographics: You need good ones if you want your content marketing efforts to succeed!