What Are Infographics? When a complex piece of information needs to be described quickly, precisely and clearly, a graphic is suitable. Infographics are used for signs, maps and data presentations. Scientists, technical writers, mathematicians, educators and statisticians ease the process of developing, organizing, recording and communicating conceptual information by using infographics.
Infographics are used for the following reasons:
To communicate a message,
To present a lot of data or information in a way that is compact and easy to comprehend,
To analyze data in order to discover cause-and-effect relationships,
To periodically monitor the route of certain parameters.
Types of Infographics Infographics are used in many fields: government, the corporate sector, medicine, engineering, research and development and so on. Certain types of infographics are targeted to people with specialized knowledge or expertise. It is possible to classify infographics according to five categories.
1. Cause and Effect Infographics
These graphs explain causal relationships between various physical or conceptual stages; for example, the causes of the recession in the US and its effect on the global economy.
2. Chronological Infographics
Chronological infographics explain an event or process as it happened in time. Presenting information on a timeline enables readers to analyze the temporal relationship between various stages of a process. For example, a bar chart that shows the growth in sales of a particular product over a period of time is a chronological infographic.
3. Quantitative Infographics
Quantitative infographics convey statistical data to readers quickly and clearly. These graphics include charts, bar graphs, tables and lists. Statistical tools such as pie charts also help summarize complex data. Quantitative infographics can be regarded as flow charts of an organizational structure that explain the hierarchy and responsibilities of different positions.
4. Directional Infographics
Infographics can navigate readers through information. Numbers, symbols, icons, diagrams, graphs, tables, arrows and bullets are used to communicate information. We all saw these infographics in our school days. Traffic symbols, scale maps and navigational aids on streets and highways are common examples. Numbers are used to indicate the distance, and dots, arrows and bullets are used as landmarks for directional aid.
5. Product Infographics
Product infographics can be seen on notice boards at factories and corporate offices, conveying information to all employees and visitors. Product infographics are also used by dieticians and in cooking schools to convey key procedures. Combining images with data makes it easier to comprehend large amounts of information in a limited space. Understanding how to work your new food processor is simple if you look at the images on the back of the box. Imagine how difficult it would be without the images!
Readers who lead busy fast-paced lifestyles do not have a lot of time to interpret data, and so innovative ways of conveying information need to be explored. Infographics communicate key information quickly. They attract the attention and maintain the focus of readers.
Infographics can also be categorized according to how they present graphic information to readers. Visual infographics can be classified in three categories:
Static infographics present information at once and in its entirety. These graphics have a quick and immediate impact on the reader. Examples of this include newspaper graphics and product manuals. Motion infographics play a major role in cinema and presentations. Information is presented sequentially and consistently. Examples of this include graphic animations and PowerPoint presentations. Interactive infographics engage the audience. Information is presented according to the reader’s choice. For example, on the web, a reader might select what they want to view from a complex set of instructive and simulated information.