In one of my classes we’re leading up to a major project based around the idea of Open Government in Canada. Part of this project will involve the development of an Infographic that I must create to support the other elements that I will need to formulate the content for my project. To prepare myself for this, I’m going to see for myself what the big deal is about infographics. If you’re wondering what open government is, check out this short video which gives a brief overview about what it is.
Credit: TBS Canada, YouTube channel
First off, I’d like to show you an example of what an existing infographic looks like, specifically one that is related to open government. More specifically, this one is related to an open data event which was held over a 48-hour period in 2014, and encouraged developers and programmers to see just what they could do with data available from the Government of Canada databases. This particular infographic is very simple, but if you do a little sleuthing around google image results, you’re going to find some very creative, and heavily detailed graphics.
So what’s involved in the creation and promotion of a successful infographic?
To provide a little background on how I discovered the source of this information, we have to shift back about 4 years to my 2-year stint in retail social media marketing. I was a regular reader of Social Media Examiner which is a blog devoted to everything SMM (Social Media Marketing). There is a handy article there which gives a good rundown on steps to take when using infographics for social media marketing. Here’s what I found.
- Find out what interests your audience: While this may seem obvious, it is important to remember that if you’re going to present a pile of data to your readers, then it should be based on something that will provoke interest. You not only want them to get sucked into the story you’re telling, but you want them to share it too.
- Choose a topic: Now that you know what will grab your audience’s attention, narrow it down a bit to a specific topic that will get them hook, line and sinker. The article suggests a good way to do this is to do some searching for articles using keywords related to your audience’s interest, and dig into articles based on these subjects from the last few months.
- Research!: This step isn’t specifically called out in the article as its own step, but I think it’s important enough that it deserves its own place. Yes, you have already had to do a bunch of research to get to this point. However, here’s where you need to go digging even deeper to pull as much relevant data on your chosen topic and compile this information.
- Sort and prioritize your data: The article suggests that you avoid data overload by cherry-picking only the data that supports the story you are telling. Sound advice because you don’t want your readers to get lost in all the jumble of percentages and numbers and eventually give up and go play solitaire.
- Develop a visual theme and flow: This may seem a bit dry, but it’s important to outline a plan for how you will visually represent every element of your infographic. Choose a colour code for your text and visual elements that provides good contrast of elements, but is also pleasing to the eye and will allow your reader to flow through your information without developing a migraine. The article details how you can use colour codes in your outline to differentiate between what will be text, and what will be visual elements.
- Follow your plan: Now that you have your subject, datasets and a solid plan to execute. Get to work and follow your plan to create your infographic and the end result should be something that your mom will happily put on the fridge to show off to her bridge club.
- Citation: Always cite your sources. This is just a good habit to be in whenever publishing anything on the internet. It not only gives credit where credit is due, but it also lends credibility to you as a content creator. There’s no point in having a soap box if no one can trust what you have to say.
- Get it out there: Once you’ve completed your infographic, publish it to your blog and social media channels. Share it to relevant channels, and seek out places that focus on the proliferation of infographics, or articles related to the subject you selected.
What did I really learn?
There is certainly more to creating infographics than I would have imagined prior to reading that article. I’d never really thought about just how detailed the workflow would be when developing this type of content. Since I have a very critical and analytical nature, this will prompt some deep thinking whenever I see an infographic on the web from now on. I’ll certainly be putting this new knowledge to the test when developing the infographic for my project.
Have you ever made an infographic? I’d love to see them. Share your links in the comments section below!