Hello infographic, goodbye pie chart
Much like fashion, website design has trends that come and go. Depending on your age, you might remember the days when websites were reminiscent of the Vegas strip, with all the bells and whistles the designer could cram onto a screen.
Thankfully, most of today’s sites are more refined. According to “The State of Web Design Trends,” one of the up and coming trends is infographics. This term is fairly new to me and, as the name implies, refers to a graphic representation of information. If you’re unsure of the benefits of infographics, here is an infographic about infographics:
With color, images and a flexibility you just can’t get from Excel, infographics are the charts and graphs of the 21st century. According to marketing professional and blogger Pam Dyer, an infographic is more effective at communication than its predecessors because it translates complex data into an easily understandable format. In her words, “charts and graphs can communicate data, but infographics turn data into information.”
Take Obama’s $787 Billion Economic Stimulus Plan. All politics aside, how many people really understand how that enormous sum of money is broken down? Enter the infographic:
A New York Times article goes a step further, suggesting that infographics have the potential to “prompt visceral comprehension, moments of insight that make viewers want to learn more.” For example, regardless of how you feel about Twitter, this visual representation of how the death of Osama bin Laden spread via Twitter offers an instant appreciation of the power of this medium.
Not everyone is on the infographic bandwagon though. Could this trend be another indication of just how lazy we’ve become? One blog suggests this new tool is simply a gimmick that drives website traffic without offering value to readers. This infographic might fall into that category:
Count me as a passenger on the bandwagon. Like it or not, we’ve become a culture of skimmers. As a communications professional, I have some sadness about this development. As a part-time student, full-time employee, and lifetime consumer, however, I have to resort to skimming just to make it through the day. If you want to get your point across, especially if you are marketing something, then you had better do it in a succinct and appealing manner.
What do you think about infographics? Do you have any favorites to share?