Infographics have been around since humans learned how to write and draw, but recently they have seen an explosion in popularity. This post will discuss the reasons behind this boom. These easy to share chunks of information are crucial in getting the cold hard facts across to your audience, especially useful over social media.
What is an infographic?
The word originates as far back as the 1960’s as a combination of information and graphic describing a visual representation of data, such as a graph or even a subway-system map. More recently however, infographic has taken on a more modern and specific meaning, something akin to the following:
You are probably more than familiar with this style of image, but how did this method of conveying information become so popular and at such an unprecedented pace?
Below are the searches on Google for infographic over the past 10 years, clearly showing a massive increase especially since 2010:
With more and more people using them, there must be a reason behind it, and there is.
So Why Use One?
Infographics are inherently shareable and easy to understand. Nearly everyone can grasp the most crucial pieces of information from a well laid out infographic, regardless of the topic. With the rise of social media with everyone sharing their thoughts and ideas to the world, and as the infographic is ideally suited to social media platforms, the two have risen in popularity hand in hand.
Another massive reason that infographics have made a surge in popularity is the increased use of smartphone and tablets. People on their mobile or tablets can easily view infographics, especially over something more complicated such as a graph or table. The attractiveness of many infographics also draws more attention, many having unique and creative ways of expressing their data.
The Future of the Infographic
So what does the future hold? At the heart of it, more interactivity with the audience. We have seen more and more complex infographics over the past year or so, many utilizing HTML5, giving the user the ability to influence the data that they see on screen. Many can be localised, with users choosing which country, or even city, they live in and the information that gets displayed is only relevant there. Bringing this kind of interactivity to the mobile market is the next step, with most browsers allowing for HTML5 now, it is the logical next step. One such example is this Water Usage infographic commissioned by Levis.
The humble picture infographic will not go away anytime soon, but diversifying and experimenting with new forms of this long standing internet staple will keep designers ahead of the game.