Infographic Design – 3 Common Mistakes

Information graphics are widespread in newspapers, presentations and on the Internet. Infographics (a shortened version of the term) are diverse types of visuals that include charts, maps, diagrams, data visualizations and technical, instructional and scientific explanations. What they have in common is that they are visual representations of information, data or knowledge.They are valuable because the world is complex and it’s difficult to quickly understand dense information.

Both professionals and amateurs produce infographics, but many of these visuals aren’t compelling for a variety of reasons. In fact, many amateurish infographics don’t offer anything new. They are no more than a group of words and pictures arranged logically on the screen or page. Here are three common mistakes designers make when creating infographics.

Mistake #1: The Graphic Does Not Provide a New of Thinking

Information graphics should use visual language to provide a new way of understanding concepts, ideas and data. But some infographics don’t enable users to see the information in a new way. Rather, they implement the infographic using a conventional and ordinary approach.

The Fix: Think deeply about the design. Because our brains are wired for pictures, graphics are understood differently than text alone. Take advantage of this by ensuring your infographic provides data or information in a way that enables viewers to perceive new relationships, new analysis and new interpretations.

Mistake #2: The Information is Not Well-organized

A primary aspect of an effective information graphic is its organization, expressed through visual structure. But some infographics seem to be randomly organized, missing the opportunity to present information with clarity.

The Fix: There are a few fixes for poor visual organization. One is to create a visual hierarchy so the eye lands on the most important information first. Another approach is to chunk the information into segments, when possible. According to cognitive research, we can only hold about four or five perceptual units in working memory at one time. When information is organized into small bits, it is easier to process.

Mistake #3: The Graphic Doesn’t Work on Multiple Levels

Information graphics should allow viewers to understand the topic at both a high-level and detailed-level. But many information graphics are flat and don’t provide several views of the content.

The Fix: Identify ways to depict the visual information so viewers can immediately get the overview of what it’s all about. In addition, provide a way for viewers to delve into the topic or data so they can get detailed information as well.

Information graphics are flooding the Internet and as a result, many untrained in this art form are producing them. Take the time to get the basic design skills for creating compelling infographics and avoid the mistakes discussed here.