By, Harkirtan Kaur
In today’s world of information overload, everyone seeks to grasp more data in less time. Gone are the days when simply the presence of information, in whichever format, was considered more than sufficient. Representation of data is nowadays considered to be equally important.
We, the technical communicators, too, must explore methodologies to ensure that we don’t limit ourselves to documentation of bundles and bundles of all-text pages. Information should not be dumped. Instead, it should be presented in such a way that the reader considers it a delight to navigate through information.
The field of Infographics, or Data Visualisation, is one such field that technical communicators must zealously explore.
Let’s then learn infographics using infographics!
The art of infographics has been explored in a variety of fields, such as digital content marketing, advertising, white papers, websites, press releases, and branding. Infographics bundle data and visual elements together to spin a story out of the available information. It is the art of trimming the unnecessary and emphasizing on the “heart” or the “essence” of a subject.
Creating an effective infographic warrants following a formal and structured process. It is much more than simply putting graphics and data together. For example, in the following infographic, a story has been portrayed to illustrate the five stages of the infographic creation process:
If you want to create an effective infographic, always remember the 3R rule:
- Research as much as you can. However, ensure that you narrow down your research to the “core” of the topic. An infographic does not have any room for extras!
- Never run away from rework! Ensure that you groom the infographic through critical analysis.
- Be ready to reinvent. Never go in for the clichés. No rule in the creative field is ever etched in stone! Remember that to create an interesting infographic, creativity is the basic requirement. If you fill the infographic layout with bulleted points and paragraphs and tables of data, your infographic will just become another document.
Also, ensure that your infographic balances data and visuals. Infographics isn’t just about “beautifying” information. It is about “dismantling” the construction, extracting the relevant bricks, and then using the appropriate mortar to re-build the house with only the most relevant extracts of information.
Infographics is of various types and can have a range of complexity. Whenever you create an infographic ensure that you define its complexity as the first step and then decide on the type of infographic that suits your requirements. Audience analysis plays an equally vital role in choosing the right infographic, the type of information to be included, and the associated colour and design scheme.
Next time when you create a tutorial or guide, think of how you can use data visualisation principles to improve the information representation.
Why just guides? Why can’t our 10-page long resume be carved into something like this:
The beauty of the field of content writing is that there are so many rules to adhere to yet so much freedom to invoke the creativity inside you. Content writing isn’t just about collecting a lot of information and dumping it all in tons of pages. It is an art of playing around will the available data and generating an output that “communicates” effectively with the audience. The output must attract the reader and not scare them away! Inhale all that you can but exhale only the much needed.
Leaving you with a mind-map and, hopefully, a lot of creative thoughts in mind!
About the Author
Harkirtan Kaur works as a Specialist (Documentation) in FIS, Pune. She has more than seven and a half years of experience in the IT industry. In 2013-14, she completed her Diploma with Distinction in “Sub-editing and Design” from London School of Journalism. She is a published author of a tri-lingual poetry book, Vision and Focus (2007). She received an appreciation for her writing skills from the American Embassy of India in 2001. She is interested in traveling, blogging, poetry writing, cooking, and singing. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.