Thing 21: Creating Infographics

I love infographics and am always amazed at just how much information they can present on just one slide/piece of paper. One of my favourite is the Murder By Numbers Poirot Infographic used in the publicity campaign for the most recent Poirot novel, The Monogram Murders, written by Sophie Hannah in 2014:

PoirotMMSHCB1 infographic

The clarity of the images, the amount of information (verified as accurate data as copyright of Agatha Christie Limited) not only serves to remind the viewer of how many different sources of death Poirot has dealt with ( and hence his rather large back catalogue of stories that everyone should go out and purchase!) it is also a very beautiful and as such, was used in promotional covers/ promotional bookmarks during the book launch.

So infographics have a very valuable use, for promotions and presentations with the potential of communicating a lot of statistics/information in a visual way, improving the transfer of information and knowledge through a very eye-catching visual medium making information more visually accessibly very quickly.

Creating an infographic

I have a very basic, minimal style when it comes to posters and displays and I knew I would continue in a similar style creating an infographic for Thing 21. This was a rather daunting prospect as I haven’t used these web tools before (although I haven’t attempted an infographic on powerpoint either!) This Rudai 23 course has given me the confidence to at least try a technology that I would otherwise have shied away from – so giving myself a couple of hours, I decided to ‘roll up my sleeves’ and get stuck in!

My first attempt is VERY simple, using age data from a recent pilot adult reading challenge I conducted. Whilst this data is limited (only focusing on sex and age group of participants) descriptions of the types of books participants had ‘read’ were mentioned by some, so whilst I was unable to quantify this data, infographics allowed me to display this information too.

This turned out to be really useful as it allowed me to display both quantitative and qualitative data in once place, summarising the main results of the pilot study and showing the whole picture for easy discussion at the next team meeting .

Making the infographic

I decided to make my first infographic using the free version of easel.ly in order to save the document in both PDF and jpg formats for use in a wide range of situations.

I found the instructions relatively straight forward after watching the Vimeo infographic clip. It still took a while to get to grips with the format, so there was plenty of deleting and experimenting going on! The range of graphs, images and text choice is rather basic, so I can understand why people upgraded to the PRO level to get more choice, but the basic facilities allowed me to at least play around with the style to get a feel of making an infograph. When I have more time I will explore the pictochart  web tool too, to find which one I prefer.

The experience was totally different to making a poster or display as it wasn’t until I set out the data that I realised  I needed to work out how best to visualise this on the page to allow the information displayed to be clearly understood:

VERY basic using only one source of data from a recent library pilotTake 6 summary

This is very basic, and reflecting on what I have produced as my first infograph, I think I might have altered the presentation now as I am far from happy with it even though it displays all the information – I am not sure I used enough directional arrows to keep the eyes visually following the direction of the data.  ‘Thing 21’ has highlighted the benefits of incorporating infographics into presentations, posters and displays as they are an excellent way (when they are made well!), of  conveying a lot of data visually in one space. This would certainly come in handy as a form of presentation at future meetings and for use as posters for displays such as National Libraries Day and in library advocacy work, highlighting the different ways the different number of people in our community use the library.

The web tools for creating infographics certainly had a versatility that I enjoyed using, but as both web tools were online with limited graphics (unless you upgrade) I think for now, I will re-evaluate how I can use powerpoint for infographics; mainly because I have been using powerpoint for years, I am comfy in creating documents quickly using their facilities plus they have a wide range of text, shapes that I can use without having to pay for upgrades. Also, with current financial pressures I’m not sure I can support additional web tool costs unless there was a specific campaign in which a lot of data was to be used and needed conveying through using these web tools – Oh powerpoint! How can I have overlooked your infographic powers! Something I aim to rectify in the future!

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