I keep seeing clever infographs everywhere: when I open a newspaper, browse Facebook, check my e-mail. They tell me the fast facts of the matter, show me road maps and timelines and show at a glance what I should learn and why I should care. (Google 'infographic' in Google Images for a curious serendipitous glimpse of the world!) For the most part, they are a pretty fun way to share information at a glance, and are an anecdote to marketing copy and twitter in which too much content is reduced to a catch phrase. They are perfect for showcasing the story and impact of your organization – essentially communicating key elements of a Performance Snapshot to a public audience.
Along with the this blossoming of colourful infographics is an equally interesting blossoming of web-based software for creating infographics. Many are still in beta testing stages. Most provide template themes that enable you to create simple visualizations by dragging and dropping different images and shapes, and which allow you to input data directly or through uploads. Many also allow for interactivity.
In terms of the cost, most are using ‘freemium’ software model which enables you do some basic creation, with a paid subscription for more frills.
The landscape is changing rapidly, and it will be interesting to see what solutions will take hold in this new space. While I haven’t done an exhaustive review of what’s out there, here are a few solutions that have sparked my interest:
This Malaysian tech start up is now in its 4th year with 600,000 users. They offer simple drag-and-drop mechanisms, and the resulting output is hosted on the cloud They recently have made it so that infographics can be designed with more interactivity and can be embedded on websites and social media sites. Best of all, they have special pricing plan for non profit / social businesses of $39.99 per year! Check out their gallery for interesting community examples.
This sounds like a tool worth watching! Like other infographic tools, this tool is web-based on allows the user to upload data and create an inforgraphic or chart that makes sense. However, it sounds like the developers are striving for a high level of inter activity, that could allow users to filter and analyze more complex data, and to create infographics that could be scaled to any device. They will be launching a public beta next month, after completing a private beta.
Other general web based tools out there include Easel.ly, Infog.ram, Venngage. There are also tools that are more specific, such as:
- Visualize.me – Present yourself in pictograms. A more exciting alternative to resumes?!
- TimelineJS – you guessed it, timelines! You can create snazzy, interactive timelines.