Every year you read new reports about how visual content is more engaging to readers than text-based content.
The data is pretty compelling, actually. Especially when it comes to infographics.
- Colored visuals increase people’s motivation to read a piece of content by 80%.
- Infographics are liked and shared on social media 3 times more than other any other type of content.
- Publishers who use infographics grow their traffic an average of 12% more than those who don’t.
You know that infographics work well to engage readers, make your content more memorable, and get more shares and likes on social media.
What you might not know is that making your infographics interactive can actually help you create a two-way dialogue between you and your customers.
An interactive infographic is one that combines the graphics and data of a standard infographic with interactive elements like animation, video, surveys, and polls.
Making your infographic interactive encourages the reader to engage with the content, instead of just reading your infographic and/or absorbing the visuals. In other words, you’re not just visualizing the data for readers, you’re helping them participate in it.
Read on to learn the 4 steps to creating an interactive infographic that really gets your customers’ attention – and gets you valuable feedback in return.
1. Decide on the Data
As fun as infographics are to read, they really are all about the data. The data you choose will guide all of the content – from copy to graphics.
So first things first. What data do you want to share with your audience?
- A research report with findings that would be meaningful to your customers.
- Survey data you collected that would be interesting to readers.
- A process or policy you want your audience to better understand.
- Key takeaways from a presentation.
- Publicized results from an industry report or survey.
Infographics can (and should) be fun! Starting with the data doesn’t mean the infographic has to be academic or boring. Here’s a cool one from Column Five that shows you the calorie count and alcohol content of those happy-hour drinks you guzzle on Friday nights.
Just make sure if you’re citing data from other companies and organizations, you link to the original source in your infographic. Most people include the list of sources as footnotes or endnotes.
2. Reveal the Story
Data is just information until you put it in context. So once you’ve decided on your data, you need to begin creating that context for your readers with a story.
Sometimes the data tells a story all on its own. Startling statistics don’t often need a lot of copy to introduce their meaning to the reader. But more often than not, you’ll need to paint the picture with an engaging story.
First, decide if you’re educating, inspiring, entertaining, or informing the reader. Once you have that end-goal in mind, decide what specific pieces of the data will help you tell that story best.
Like any good story, your infographic will need a beginning, middle, and end. Write a brief intro, let the data do the heavy lifting to tell the story in the middle, and then wrap up the infographic with a conclusion that includes a CTA (call-to-action).
Of course, not every infographic needs a CTA – but if you’re creating an infographic as a marketing tool, you’ll want to include one.
Here’s an example from the New York Times that beautifully illustrates the story of Japan’s new Himawari-8 weather satellite and its 144 photographs of our planet per day.
3. Get Interactive – Really
Here’s where the rubber meets the road with today’s interactive infographics.
It used to be that animation or video was all it took to call an infographic “interactive.”
By definition, interactive means two people or things influencing or having an effect on one another. It also means a two-way flow of information.
Animation and video make infographics more interesting, sure. But to really create that dialogue – that two-way flow of information – you need to involve the reader’s real-time input.
Truly engaging interactive infographics ask the reader to do something. To enter information or make a selection.
To navigate through the infographic, the reader is asked to choose an area to focus on. It’s a simple request, and one that doesn’t require much cognitive energy for the reader – but it gets them directly engaged in the infographic.
Additionally, this two-way interaction allows you to gather valuable information about your audience.
Once you have your data and you’ve decided what story you want to tell with it, you’ll need to decide what interactive elements you want to add.
To zero in on the right elements, ask yourself these three questions:
- What conclusion do you want the reader to come to at the end of the infographic?
- What more information does the reader need to know?
- What information do you need to know about your customers?
4. Bring It to Life With the Right Visuals
You have all the content ready to go and you know how you want the reader to interact with your infographic. Now it’s time to bring it to life with a visual theme.
Many businesses stick close to their branding when they design their infographics. And there’s certainly value in the consistent experience that brand visuals bring to the table. Just don’t forget your customer in this situation.
Make sure the visual design of your infographic will speak to your customers, first and foremost.
Look at how Save On Energy did it with their infographic about how solar panels work.
The audience for this infographic is solar panel buyers. It’s clearly designed to appeal to the target customer, with only hints of the company’s branding throughout.
Create an Infographic Your Customers Can Sink Their Teeth Into
Animated infographics used to be the sole residents of the “interactive infographic” category.
But oh, times have changed.
Now you can create infographics that really get readers involved in the story you’re telling with the data.
I’ll keep you on the topic by pointing you to some more examples of engaging content that include really good visuals.