HOW TO STRUCTURE A GOOD STORY FOR YOUR INFOGRAPHIC
Every story needs a structure.
The Pixar mastermind and filmmaker, Andrew Station claims that storytelling is knowing your punchline, your ending, knowing that everything you are saying, the first sentence to the last, is leading to a singular goal. These elements basically are the structure of a good story.
A CEO and presentation designer, Nancy Duarte discovered a common structure in two powerful speeches of all time—Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” and Steve Job’s iPhone launch speeches.
In schools, students are being taught the simplest building block of a good story—the three-part structure. The three-part structure comprises the beginning, the middle, and the end.
As with infographics, the story of your infographic needs a structure. You need a way to communicate your idea that resonates. A way that is so impactful that your readers easily understood the message, liked what they read and want to share it with their friends and colleagues.
And so, the question begs—How do I go about in structuring an infographic story like a pro?
For this purpose, we have borrowed a couple of except and notes from various notable figures in the industry that are well known for their storytelling. In this article, we’ll stick to the conventional three-part structure.
PART 1 : THE TITLE
Based on some psychological studies, Richard Gregory (1970) for instance, human perceive visual information faster and easier with the help of prior knowledge or supplementary information. Title is the best supplementary information to give your readers a head start on what to perceive from your infographics.
A good title tells your readers what they are about to find out in your infographic.
Advise from Buffer:
- The ideal length of a headline is 6 words.
- The ideal length of a title tag is 55 characters, which could be your short descriptions after infographic title.
Advises from Kissmetrics:
The title of the infographic is important.
- You will want it to be catchy,
- You have to think about SEO with high priority, and
- You should write about 25 headlines before you settle for one.
Although an infographic is a ‘quick’ visual piece, the headline is either going to say it all or say nothing at all. After your title, you will want to summarize your infographics with a short description (title tag) to further elaborate the title if it is not immediately understood.
For example, notice how the following two infographics titles are accompanied by short descriptions.
PART 2 : THE BODY
In the formation of your infographic content, storytelling is a valuable and important skill. People remember a story better than cold hard facts. People are more interested in a story than just facts or promotional information.
How do you tell your story that people will be interested in?
To make people interested to read your story is to draw them into the story. If you build your story right, you will bring your audience into the story. To do that, your story requires a focus point.
There are several ways to position your information around the focus point for your content. Consider the following examples we have collected.
A) Typical focus point
Start your story with an introduction – a big picture and then elaborate 4 points that support your premise and end it with a conclusion that is accompanied with statistics. The following example shows exactly that, the big picture and follow by the elaboration.
B) Singular focus point
You will only need to deliver one piece of information. All your facts and information will be on that piece of information. Make it interesting and easy to comprehend by providing visual aid and proper layout. The following example is all about costs of healthcare in the US. Besides merely giving the numbers, color codes were applied for better comprehension of the costs differences. The story also chips in the senator’s opinion of the matter.
C) Comparison (X vs Y) focus point
You need to compare two or more factors. You will need to lineup the features or values of your object(s) for easy comparison. Then, accompany your points with visuals for better visual comparison. Consider the following example.
D) Process focus point
Your infographic message is in the form of a process flow or a set of guideline. You will have to show how one thing leads to another. This is great for explaining how things work in a step-by-step manner, which typically comes with lines and arrows as visual aid.
Looking for more ideas how to structure your data? Take a look at 8 types of infographics: which one is right for you?
PART 3 : CONCLUSION
A good ending will leave the reader either with lingering thoughts of the perspective of your story, or with the urge to act as your call to action (CTA) dictates.
How to end your story with an impact?
Similar to the title, write a compelling conclusion to close the case. As an infographic is supposed to be interactive, a thought provoking question could be a good way to end your infographic. An effective CTA could be another way to end it.
Advise from Kissmetrics:
Raising the conversion rates on your web pages is easy when you understand which insights you need.
We have provided you four of them (and perhaps there are more out there), you should be able to craft a really good story for your infographic.
What story are you telling?