Way back when, years before Tim Berners-Lee put a user-friendly face on the internet, I distinctly remember the criticism USA Today faced when it launched: the color photography, the short articles, and those big infographics. That’s journalism? Do the editors have no faith in America’s ability to read?
Well, sure enough, even the venerable New York Times eventually switched from black-and-white to color photography. And if you’ve read the Wall Street Journal lately, you know it’s hardly the text-centric newspaper it once was. In fact, the WSJ keeps a separate page for its data visualization projects. If there’s data, there’s an infographic idea to go along with it. (See examples of effective infographics here.)
Seeing is believing
One thing USA Today realized, even before the rise of the internet, is that we humans have become increasingly visual creatures. Nowadays, with screens and information pervading every nook and cranny we inhabit, figuring out how to organize and present that information is more important than ever. And thanks to infographic templates, it’s also easier to do.
As a result, those big infographics have become increasingly popular. In his book Visual Content Marketing: Leveraging Infographics, Video and Interactive Media to Attract and Engage Customers, author Stephen Gamble makes the case that today’s audience suffers from information overload.
On top of that, most buyers have no time. Given these factors, he muses, “Why not visually engage people with an easily digestible image that puts them into your offering so they can see the value quickly, understand the offering, and come to you with questions about their unique needs?” Why not, indeed.
Making the biggest impact
Here are 3 instances when an infographic is your best tool for the job:
- Streamlining messaging: Use infographics to develop more effective communications, both for clients and for your internal organization.
- Catering to digital users: Infographics are particularly effective online, when you have a limited chance to engage your reader.
- Distilling information: Visuals can go a long way to help communicate information that’s complex, plentiful, or both.
Apparently USA Today knew something the rest of the newspaper industry didn’t. Check out the sites listed below to learn more about infographic ideas and templates, or if you’re just looking for inspiration.