13 Jul 2012

Creating infographics with Piktochart

Turning research data into something meaningful and visually engaging takes skill and time. But there is good reason for putting in the effort (see previous post). Information graphics, at their most basic level, visualise information to amplify cognition. If the process is carefully planned and executed, potentially boring stuff can be rendered into visual information stories that stick.

What data are good candidates for use in infographics? Depiction of information processes with if/then decision branches and multiple steps, or information representations that require a great deal of deciphering on the part of the user are no good. Decoding the information story and drawing conclusions should be straight forward and painless.

Ask yourself which data coming out of your library is suitable for use in an information graphic. For example, packaging descriptive statistical data (e.g. library survey data or library website analytics) is a good example. Other examples include the particular storytelling of multistep, sequential instructions; e.g. how to operate the self-issuing station in your library. Visualising the timeline description of a library project through an infographic may also be very effective when communicating with particular audiences. Another good use for infographics is to promote a library service/feature.

Piktochart lets you create infographics without having to put in a lot of design legwork. You can use a selection of ready-made templates. The free version allows for five basic themes and five image uploads + includes a small Piktochart watermark when you export your infographic. Tweaking things is somewhat limited (number of available shapes, graphics and the like). Also, you can only download the final result as an image rather than raw data. Hmmm... I'm not entirely convinced that I have the skill for creating engaging infographics here (better leave this sort of stuff to my my friend Peter at ayecode.com)...

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