What could be better than an infographic...?

02 March 2017

Emma Thompson, Director

Florence Nightingale's 'coxcomb' diagrams
(Source: www.theguardian.com

Infographics have been around for hundreds of years, in one form or another: did you know that Florence Nightingale produced ‘Coxcomb’ diagrams to visually represent statistics on the causes of mortality in the army?

Infographics became particularly popular on the web about 8 years ago, with creative designers translating dull text and figures into sometimes beautiful images. (If you’re interested in beautiful data, I recommend the books of David McCandless.) The more recent rise in free-to-use online tools has made it even easier for those of us less creatively-gifted to build simple and informative diagrams to communicate key points clearly and quickly to our audiences.  

Over the past few years, membership bodies of all types have used infographics in a variety of ways - such as reporting data from surveys, describing member benefits and building brand awareness - to capture the attention of busy members and get the message across in a glance.  But it seems there could now be something even better.

In content marketing terms, infographics have significant impact.  This summary of 42 visual content marketing stats is an interesting read; here are just 2 of the 42, relating to infographics specifically:

  • Infographics are "liked" and shared on social media 3X more than other any other type of content.
  • People following directions with text and illustrations do 323% better than people following directions without illustrations.

So what could be better than an infographic?

An infographic that does things

One marketing company’s report suggests that interactivity is the way to build value and quality: instead of creating lots of images and content that can be digested, clicked and shared, create content that involves the reader in doing something.  So how can an infographic be made to work even harder?  Make it interactive.  A fantastic example of this was recently published online by the Royal College of Surgeons of England: the RCS reports key results of its 2016 membership survey on its website using images that you can click to see the responses given by different member segments.  It’s neat, visually appealing and full of information that’s easy to digest.

Go on, have a play!