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Data Visualization

This guide will walk you through what data visualization to use based on your research need and data type

Infographics

Definition of an Infographic:

An infographic is a collection of data, data visualizations, text, and images that distils an argument into its clearest,  most quickly understandable format. It is meant to persuade intellectually as well as illicit an emotional reaction. The primary difference between a poster and an infographic is that a poster explains an argument, while an infographic is an argument. 

Williams, C. (2017). Designing your infographic: Getting to Design. In K. Fontichiaro, J. A. Oehrli, & A. Lennex (Eds.), Creating Data Literate Students (pp. 193–214). Michigan Publishing.

 

Key to a good infographic: Do not sacrifice the information for the visual appeal, and do not sacrifice the visual appeal to fit as much information on as possible. This is a balancing act. Pare down what you want to present to the essentials to get your point across and still create an emotional connection with your audience.  

Steps to creating an infographic

  1. Determine your topic question.
  2. Conduct background research on the topic and in the process collect the numeric data and information that helps you make your point. Now is a good time to also start looking for images, or types of images you might want to use. 
  3. Take a step back and look at what you collected. Is there anything missing that you should include for your argument? Is there anything you really don't need to make your argument?
  4. Look at examples of other infographics using a Google search. Which ones do you like? Which ones do you not like? Which ways of presenting information will work for the argument you are trying to construct with your infographic?
  5. Brainstorm and map out on a sheet of paper the flow of information that will best represent the story you are trying to tell. Determine the best containers for the information you need: Do I need a chart for this data, or is a definition better, or should I use an icon or a timeline?
  6. Create a rough draft of your infographic on paper and show it to your teacher or friends. See if they understand the argument you are trying to make and collect feedback. 
  7. Use an online tool to create your infographic. 
  8. Get more feedback, and make changes. 
  9. Reflect on the process. What would you change next time? What worked? Are you satisfied with your results? Why?
Williams, C. (2017). Designing your infographic: Getting to Design. In K. Fontichiaro, J. A. Oehrli, & A. Lennex (Eds.), Creating Data Literate Students (pp. 193–214). Michigan Publishing.

Tips for using infographics

Tips:

  • Start by collecting the majority of your numeric data (statistics, data visualizations, etc.), text (quotes, definitions, etc), and images (icons or at least ideas of what you might want) before you start constructing your argument. 
  • Keep your color scheme simple. Keep in mind the emotional reactions we have to different colors, and try to limit the number of colors you use to avoid distracting your audience from the message of the infographic. 
  • Draft your infographic on paper before starting to use your online tool. There is a steep learning curve for most online tools, so we tend to alter our design principles based on what is easiest to do in a new tool as opposed to what actually gets our argument across. 
Williams, C. (2017). Designing your infographic: Getting to Design. In K. Fontichiaro, J. A. Oehrli, & A. Lennex (Eds.), Creating Data Literate Students (pp. 193–214). Michigan Publishing.

Tools for making infographics

Examples of infographics