A picture is worth a thousand words. Infographics combine word and image and thus probably convey even more. Infographics are gaining momentum. A look at Google Trends shows their spectacular rise since 2009. This article will present an overview of inspiring applications of infographics and animations for web shops, publishers and corporate websites.
What is an infographic?
Wikipedia defines it as ‘an informative illustration of different objects using a combination of word and image. This can occur in the form of a map, graphic, sign, instructive drawing or an interactive application.’
A well-known example of an infographic in the world of internet is the Social Media Prism. This infographic clearly shows the different ways in which social media manifest themselves.
Why are infographics useful?
- Infographics have a high ‘Oh, that’s how it is’ factor. A good infographic is capable of making complex processes and large amounts of data and information understandable.
- They have great appeal. Eye-tracking research among readers of news websites conducted in 2007 showed that infographics and photos on news pages essentially attracted equal attention. It also revealed that 87% of the people who saw an infographic also read the accompanying text, whereas only 41% read the text of an ‘ordinary’ page containing a heading and text.
- A good infographic also has SEO benefits. Many infographics have an embed code (a la YouTube). As soon as websites include your infographics and links to your page, it improves your SEO ranking.
Moreover, infographics are not only helpful to readers. They also compel people to think about their message and how they structure information. And, infographics can be useful for internal communication purposes.
Endless online possibilities
An infographic is not something confined to print media. The possibilities for its use on the web are endless. Not only can you place an image, but you can add interactive elements as well. Following is an overview of four inspiring infographics.
Marvia.nl: a web shop infographic
The Dutch company Marvia sells online web-to-print solutions. Sometimes that’s quite difficult to explain. An infographic can help. Marvia explains, with the help of a number of easy-to-grasp infographics, what the advantages of web-to-print are, how the process works and which templates you can use.
Do you also have a web shop?
An infographic can help in the following ways:
- It can explain the product’s advantages
- It can explain the order process
- It can explain the return process
- It can present product manuals visually online. This is especially useful for small product ranges and products that consumers have to assemble or install themselves.
The New York Times: an interactive infographic
The New York Times is one of the leaders in the publishing world when it comes to data visualization. NYTimes.com has a team of ten people responsible for all data visualization and infographics. The New York Times tries to present information as visually as possible, whether it concerns sports, politics or finance. Following is an example of a The New York Times interactive infographic that demonstrates the impact of the war in Iraq. The ingredients used are a map of Baghdad, interactive hotspots and relevant content.
The New York Times seems to also give thought to real-time infographics, for example for live reports on election nights or major sports events. The interactive screens used by news presenter Herman van der Zandt during the recent elections show that the NOS is taking steps in this direction as well.
It’s also more than worthwhile to have a look at Geoff McGhee’s inspiring documentary entitled ‘Journalism in the age of data’. McGhee is director of Media & Communication at Stanford University and previously worked for The New York Times and Le Monde. An ode to data visualization for journalists:
Mint.com: an infographic for online financial services
Mint.com is a hip online accounting package for private users. A variety of tools and dashboards enable you to monitor and adjust your financial situation. Mint.com also has a weblog to show customers the ropes in the world of personal finance. This weblog is full of infographics that explain all kinds of financial principles and theories in an understandable way. For example, Mint.com has an extremely accessible infographic that explains what a share is and how the stock market works.
Chevron.com: infographics for corporate purposes
Recently, Jungle Minds published the results of the annual Henri Sijthoff Award. One of the conclusions was that business information is not always as complete and clear as it should be. In other words, companies are not always entirely clear on their corporate websites about who they are and what they do. Infographics could also be useful in these kinds of cases. For example, American energy giant Chevron has an accessible infographic on its corporate website about the process of gas extraction.
Infographics offer many people opportunities
Whether you run a web shop or a corporate website, every visitor will benefit from clear and accessible information. So, do your pages have a high bounce rate? Are they boring text pages that have been a source of irritation for years and remained unread during every user test? Or a great deal of process-oriented information that is difficult to explain in three sentences? Infographics could be the key to success in all of these cases.
More inspiration? Check out: