Everyone loves them. They are educative, jam packed with visually appealing graphics and are easy to upload, download and share. Infographics have flourished into a legitimate source used by many brands to share information with a social audience.
But are Infographics loosing their spark? Their novelty is dying, but Infographics are now more valued than ever and are considered an asset when it comes to content marketing. This is particularly important for those making a large investment in the medium.
To be honest, unless an Infographic has a touch of brilliance, it will not go viral. The good news is that, this aesthetic form of displaying complex data in a simple manner using graphic visualizations, in most forms, is a booming business that will be around for many years to come.
Back in the day
Static Infographics are as old as crocs. Though not as ugly, they are slowly fading. The web is filled with tutorials and DYI software that the JPEG images just don’t cut it anymore.
These now-termed traditional Infographics spread illustrations and figures across a relatively large area of screen space, creating a temptation for eyes to wander about aimlessly regardless of what the designer had initially envisioned.
In this day and age
The current trend is interactive or click-able Infographics, and the more popular, animated Infographics or video-graphics.
With HTML getting a tune up to HTML5, Interactive Infographics have become a huge hit in the past year. Using an organized combination of HTML5 and CSS3 to bring in some interactivity to the final layout, the motion element in Interactive Infographics attracts user attention and the richer end user experience keeps the visitors riveted for longer periods.
Animation, by necessity, imposes a narrative structure on an Infographic purely through controlling the order and speed at which the audience views images. This story-telling element and the ability to set a clear tone through voiceovers, makes Animated Infographics very appealing to brands in a way that surpasses static visualizations.
The Future… And Beyond!
Jamie Manning, Manager of the Digital Communications Team, at Biogen Idec stated “Flash died when Steve Jobs announced Apple would not be incorporating it into their devices. Flash has a maximum of 2 years remaining on its life span”.
If you’re like me, and you don’t own an iPad, iPhone or an iPod, or you cannot afford one (Don’t deny it), HTML5 is our web-hero. This quantum leap in terms of visually rich content for web and mobile, is designed to be completely device and platform independent, meaning there is no need for plug-ins (Flash, Adobe, Java etc).
What does this mean for Infographics?
Similar to how social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter provide up-to-the-second information, designers will be able to find ways to craft Infographics that tell a compelling news story (breaking news) in a visually appealing manner. We dub it Live Infographics, or Live-o-graphics (it’s a work in progress). Imagine designers with the ability to alter the data and graphics as news unfolds, and perhaps even allow on-site eye witnesses to take a whack at it.
At the rate technology is evolving, there’s no telling the capabilities and limitations of the Infographic. Data, data collection, data analysis, who owns our data, how it’s disseminated, how it’s stored, monetized, and shared – these are all rising commodities.
Sadly, these smart informative designs are not everyone’s piece of candy. Some define Infographics as a means to dumb down the human race. Whatever your cup of tea, animation, interactivity and user-generated content are the new frontiers for visualization. And if executed properly, as is the case in Infographics, they will remain the driving force of communicative means for the masses on the web, or whatever the future holds for the internet.