4 Cool Types Of Data Visualization (And When To Use Them In An Infographic)

One of the most satisfying parts of any successful infographic is the data visualization. The charts, graphs, maps, and other graphic elements can turn cold, hard data into something exciting and enlightening. The only problem is that people tend to use the same kinds of data visualization techniques over and over again. While pie charts, line charts, and bar charts have their place, there’s a whole world of less common visualization techniques you can use.

If you want to give your next infographic some data visualization flourish, here are four cool options.

1) Word Cloud

A list of words all by itself isn’t very interesting. But when those words are grouped together and differently sized, it suddenly communicates a lot more information. And it’s nicer to look at to boot.

For example, look at these word clouds on an infographic about identity theft.

Word Cloud

What might have been just a list of words looks a whole lot more dynamic.

When To Use It: When you want to compare the frequency of word usage, or just want a more visually appealing way to show a list words.

2) Pictogram Chart

People are generally bad at comparing amounts. For example, many people think “one million dollars” and “one billion dollars” are both just “a lot of money,” when in reality one is literally one thousand times bigger than the other. But a pictogram chart can show stark differences between amounts.

A pictogram chart illustrates different amounts through icons that represents quantities. For example, check out this infographic on counterfeit electronic components.

Pictogram Chart

Each circuit board represents one illegal market. So it’s easy to see that China has a huge black market electronic industry, while Vietnam and South Korea have much smaller ones.

When To Use It: When you want to help the reader compare several different amounts, but you want something more clear and more creative than a typical bar chart.

3) 3D Donut Chart

The pie chart has its place. It’s an easy simple way to see how different amounts relate to each other. But the problem is that it’s used so frequently, there’s a risk that readers will glaze over it.

The solution? The 3D donut chart. This communicates data in a similar way to a pie chart, but the added dimension and more pleasing “donut” shape makes it nicer to look at. Take a look at this donut chart from an infographic on what SEOs are working on.

Donut Chart

What might have been a dull pie chart is instead visually interesting. That means readers are more likely to linger on it, and absorb the information.

When To Use It: When you want to use a pie chart, but would prefer to use something different and engaging instead.

4) Concept Map

Maps aren’t always about geography. Sometimes they’re also about ideas, and how those ideas are related. And since ideas are so abstract, a visual “concept map” can help readers better understand the relationship between concepts in a way that simple writing just can’t.

For example, check out this infographic on marketing concepts. It breaks down important pillars of sales marketing, such as strategy, media, and creative execution, plus shows how they interact with each other.

Showing these relationships in a graphical format helps people understand these difficult to grasp ideas much faster than a typical marketing blog post can.

When To Use It: When you want to show how different techniques, concepts, or ideas relate to each other.

Making Data Clear

Most data, by itself, is neither interesting nor boring. But through data visualization a skilled graphic designer can take a normally dull data set and turn it into something enlightening and even fun. The next time you create an infographic, think about outside of the box ways you can graphically present your data in new, interesting ways.

How To Research Data That Will Make Your Infographic Rise Above The Rest

When creating an infographic, step one is simply choosing an idea. But after that, you have to quickly move to step two: researching your content. This is the raw data you will organize into a informational story, which your graphic designer will turn into your final infographic.

How do you find information that’s interesting, easy to turn into graphics, and trustworthy? Here are a few tips for retrieving data that will turn your infographic into something that’s fascinating for your audience.

1) Pull Research From Peer Reviewed Studies

Googling the information you want is an okay way to start, but it runs into a problem. The information you find has already been published, and probably has been published dozens of times before. So how can you give your audience information they’ve never seen before?

Get data from academic studies. These scientific papers are chock full of original info. The easiest way to do this is by searching through Google Scholar. By searching scientific studies, you can get a ton of highly authoritative and interesting info. Don’t worry about being overwhelmed by technical information: all research papers give away their key findings in the abstract.

Just be sure to cite your studies at the bottom of the infographic. It not only gives credit to the researchers, but it also makes your infographic more authoritative.

2) Track Down Geographical Data

People love seeing how states and countries differ from each other. As a bonus, maps are highly visual, so that gives your graphic designer with good material to work with. When possible, track down data that explains how different geographical regions differ.

For example, check out this infographic on Sportfishing in the United StatesSportfishing in the United States. It outlines the fishing participation by region, helping readers understand how popular sportfishing is across the country.

Map

3) Chronological Data Is Easy To Visualize

Readers also like seeing trends over time for any topic. It gives an idea of how life has changed. Plus, it gives us clues to how things will change in the future. When possible, look up year to year or month to month data. This kind of information is perfect for data visualization, and it easy to turn into a bar or a line graph.

4) Show Off Dollars And Cents

If you’re stumped, you can always focus on the money angle. People love learning about how much things cost and how much money is spent for things. This is particularly true when you’re able to show off big numbers. For example, check out this infographic about Halloween. It talks about the jaw dropping amount of cash that people spend on candy every October: 1.9 billion dollars.

Halloween Candy

5) When In Doubt, Email An Expert

Who says you have to do all of your research on your own?

If you really want a top notch infographic, email someone who is an expert in the topic you’re writing about. They’re usually happy to spare a few minutes chatting about their life’s passion. Plus, they’re able to steer your research in the right direction, saving you valuable research time.

4 Easy Tricks To Make Your Presentation Deck Pop

Delivering a good presentation isn’t just about what you say: it’s about how you say it.

And the slide deck you create to support your presentation unquestionably is a part of how you deliver your message. A dull, lifeless deck can make even exciting subject matter seem lifeless. And a lively, colorful deck can can take a presentation from “good” to “great.”

Fortunately, making a presentation that’s actually good isn’t a matter of overhauling what you have. Instead, it’s a matter of making the right kind of tweaks that support what you want to say.

Here are four ways you can create a slide deck that takes your presentation to the next level.

1) Add Twitter Info And Presentation URL

If you’re at a conference, you ideally want people chatting about your presentation. So you can make it easy on them in three ways.

First, upload your slide deck beforehand and give your audience the url beforehand. That gives them the option of following along on their own computer or phone while you speak, and it also gives them access to the slides after you’re done. That makes it easier to remember.

Second, add your personal or company Twitter name. That way, they can tag you while you drop your brilliant insights.

And third, include the hashtag of the event you’re speaking at. That way, other people at the same event can easily discover what you’re saying.

2) One Idea Per Slide

Don’t pack any one slide with too much info. Each one should contain one image and one or two sentences. If you include an entire paragraph, your audience will be too busy squinting to see the text to hear what you’re saying.

Don’t be shy about packing too many slides into your deck. The truth is that most viewers will appreciate the fast pace of the slides. Hubspot’s Culture Code Deck clocks in at 128 slides, but it still received over three million views.

Plus, short sentences are easier to tweet, which makes it more likely that people will share your brilliant insights with their followers.

3) Use Original Graphics

Your audience knows the difference between carefully created graphics that enhance your presentation and clipart you added at the last second. Smart visuals don’t just make the information easier to absorb, they also make your presentation more captivating. After all, you want your audience’s eyes on what you’re saying, right?

Custom graphics created by a skilled graphic designer adds an essential bit of polish to your slide deck. And it’s proof that you care about your presentation enough to spend extra time and money on it.

4) Big, Bold Font Sizes

Before you make your presentation, already get clear of the size of the display that your deck will appear on. The smaller the display, the more important it is for you to choose a highly readable font. For presentations, it’s usually best to choose a simple sans serif font, such as the old standby Helvetica.

Make Your Ideas Resonate

Whether or not your ideas resonate with your audience is determined long before you begin speaking. You need an insightful concept, a confident delivery, and a slide deck that supports everything that you say.

Why Typography Is Vitally Important For Infographics

High quality writing is important for effective infographics. But equally important is how that writing looks. The words on an infographic might contain extremely valuable information for your audience. But if those words look ugly, confusing, or clash with the infographic’s theme, then they might accidentally push people away. That’s why smart infographic typography is essential. The fonts you choose, how you stylize those fonts, and how you lay out your infographic’s copy will decide whether people read and share your infographic or just pass it by.

Here are three important ways typography helps

1) Typography Establishes Professionalism

Just as bad design can ruin a good message, bad typography can ruin an infographic. While rules are made to be broken, here are a few basic rules of thumb for infographic typography.

  • Use one or two fonts, but definitely no more than three.
  • Create contrast between fonts, such as thick/thin or serif/sans-serif
  • Choose complimentary colors, or a contrasting color for words you want to emphasize
  • Choose a layout that allows for some negative space to aid readability

Want an example of typography done right? Check out the infographic Optimization Guide for a Successful Website Launch.

Infographic Fonts

As you can see in this section, the clean and simple sans serif font, which is common on web pages, matches the theme of the infographic and just plain looks nice. The large, bold all caps title (“CREATING BACKUP SYSTEMS“) provides a nice contrast to the thin, smaller body copy. The colors are also deliberately chosen. The green number two, light blue header, and white body copy all work together to make the infographic look professional and readable. The effect is subtle. But when typography looks good, it tell the reader that the infographic’s content is worth taking seriously.

2) Typography Supports The Message And Theme

Take a look at the two fonts below. Which one do you think would be appropriate to use in an infographic about the history of punk rock? Which one would be better for a men’s guide to buying a tailored suit?

Fonts

The font of the left, because it looks hand painted, sloppy, and wild, would obviously fit better in an infographic about rebellious music. The one of the right, because it looks stately, formal, and precise, would be much better for an infographic that helps men look their best.

The fonts you choose shouldn’t just look good. They should also support with your infographic’s concept.

3) Typography Aids Legibility And Readability

Your typography shouldn’t make life harder for the reader than it has to be. Poorly chosen fonts, overcrowded layouts, or eye-straining colors aren’t just unattractive, they also make reading the words on an infographic a chore. The infographic’s words, and particularly the body copy, should be highly legible and readable.

Legibility refers to how easily readers can identify individual characters. For example, the punk rock font above might be good for a title or header section, but it’s not smart for body copy. Because it’s so wild and sloppy, it’s a little difficult make out the letters, and therefore has lower than average legibility.

Readability, on the other hand, refers to how easily readers can identify words and sentences. This can improved with smart layout, justification, font size, and kerning.

Typography Harmony

Infographic typography shouldn’t be an afterthought. Instead, it should be in total harmony with your content, design, brand, and concept. When all of these elements of your infographic work together, they help improve your company’s image and spread your message far and wide.

How To Choose An Infographic Concept

How To Choose A Successful Infographic Concept

The success of your infographic is determined long before your graphic designer starts working in Illustrator or Photoshop. It’s even settled before your writer starts researching. The true success of an infographic lies in its concept. This is the seed of the infographic, from which everything else follows.

A good execution of that infographic concept matters, obviously. But if you don’t have a strong concept, then it won’t reach its potential. If you want to choose a concept that will boost your business, make sure it satisfies these four criteria.

1) Make It Relevant To Your Goals

What exactly do you hope to get out this infographic? Do you want to position yourself as a thought leader? Do you want it to spread through a social media community? Do you want to earn backlinks for SEO?

Before you even think about your concept, get clear on what you want the infographic to achieve.

Let’s say you want to position yourself as a thought leader. Your infographic concept might revolve around original research, which you can present through data visualization. For example, check out this infographic from Search Engine Journal about what SEO experts are working on.

SEO Infographic

That data comes from an original survey of 65 top SEOs. The concept not only gives Search Engine Journal readers useful information, but it also establishes Search Engine Journal as a publication that has its finger on the pulse on the search industry.

2) Make It Relevant To Your Brand

An infographic about blues guitarists might be smart if you’re a music store — but it might not be a good idea if you’re a computer repair shop.

An infographic is more than just a pretty way to present information. It’s also a reflection what you value as a business. So it should always connect to the image you want to present to the world. Take for example, this infographic aout the most iconic glass bottles from O Berk.

Kikkoman Soy Sauce

The subject matter is fascinating, but the concept also connects directly to the company’s brand image as a leader in packaging solutions.

3) Make It Relevant To Your Audience

Who is going to be reading your infographic? What’s important to them? What are they curious about? What is the biggest struggle in their life right now?

It’s vital to create an concept that actually connects with what real people want to read. This is why social listening can be a wealth of infographic concept ideas. Seeing what your desired audience is actually chatting about on Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media networks gives you clues about content that will resonate.

4) Add An Element Of Surprise

Once you have a concept that is aimed towards your marketing goals, accurately reflects your brand image, and is interesting to your target audience, now it’s time to add an extra ingredient that will make it stand out. You should choose an angle or a niche that sets it apart from similar content. After all, there’s a lot to read out there, so you should find something that makes your infographic at least a little bit different.

Take for example this infographic created for America’s Pet Store. Rather than simply being a guide on caring for a pet, the infographic takes a slightly different angle: Pets and Kids … Not So Different.

By comparing well cared for pets and well cared for children, the infographic educates on dog and pet care in a way that stands out from similar content.

Finding The Perfect Concept

Settling on an infographic concept that satisfies all four of these criteria isn’t easy. In fact, the first concept that comes to mind probably won’t. Don’t be afraid to brainstorm dozens of ideas in your search for something that connects. Thinking deeply about your concept definitely takes a little more time. But it’s the best thing you can do to set your infographic up for success.

Why Infographics Are Still Great For SEO

Why Infographics Are (Still) Great For SEO

For years, infographics have been a powerful weapon in the Search Engine Optimizer’s arsenal. While some have argued that they’re longer effective for drawing in search traffic, the truth is that strategically-created infographic is still one of the most reliable ways to raise your site’s ranking for those highly competitive keywords. But here’s the trick: it only works if you have a killer concept enhanced by beautiful design.

Here are are few ways you can leverage infographics to boost your SEO efforts.

1) Easy Link Building

While SEO has changed over the years, one ranking signal has remained consistent: Google values sites that have several high value links. But as anyone who has run a link building campaign can confirm, earning those links organically is a grind. Traditional link building methods, like guest posting, PR campaigns, or broken link building are either expensive or time consuming.

Infographics, however, are another story.

Brian Dean over at Backlinko explains how you can build high quality links thanks to “guestographics.” After publishing the link on your own site, you can promote it to other businesses or blogs in your niche. If it’s high quality and useful, those sites will be more than happy to share it with their audience by publishing it. That means lots of links for you, without having to write several new guest posts.

2) Increase Dwell Time And Reduce Bounce Rate

Google wants to help searchers land on pages that help them solve their problems and give them the information they want. One of the most important ways that Google detects just how much visitors like a page is through “dwell time.” This is the amount of time that visitor spends before leaving the page.

Infographics, by their nature, are more engaging than other types of content. They encourage viewers to spend more time soaking in the creative, colorful visuals. According to a study by Contently, infographics have a 73 percent completion rate. Blog posts, on the other hand, are only completed 66 percent of the time on average.That means that visitors will linger on your web page a little longer, which tells Google that your website is worth visiting.

3) Improve Social Signals

Exactly how much “social signals” affect SEO is a matter of controversy in the SEO world. But some experiments suggest that they have at least some impact. If you want to boost your social credibility (and get those potential SEO benefits that come along with it) then a shareable infographic will help you.

There is no doubt that infographics outperform typical blog posts on social media. According to that same Contently study, infographics reach 54 percent more readers than blog posts. There’s just something compelling about infographics that inspires people to click that share button.

Which is fantastic, because according to Dario Zadro at Search Engine Journal, “As more traffic is directed to your site from trusted social channels, it must reinforce your site’s perceived value and authority.”

Building Search Traffic With SEO

If you want proof that graphical content is an SEO booster, look no further than Google itself. According to Google’s image publishing guidelines, “Great image content is an excellent way to build traffic to your site. We recommend that when publishing images, you think carefully about creating the best user experience you can.”

By combining valuable, useful information, and engaging visuals, infographics provide some of the best user experiences on the web. And that leads to that consistent search traffic that draws potential new customers to your business every day.

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