Design

Infographic Layout: How to Make Complex Data Easy To Read

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There is no doubt that data is king of the cloud. The internet is a gigantic ocean of data and numbers. Billions of data points are produced every minute by thousands of businesses, companies or individual developer.

Since navigating that deep sea of data isn’t easy, businesses and organizations are reaching out to a group of people with a very specific set of skills. Google Trends show that ‘data science’ and its related terms have been increasing in popularity since 2007.

In fact, Google’s Chief Economist mentioned in January that the sexy job in the next 10 years will be statisticians. In addition to that, Bloomberg reported that data scientists are in demand, and their salaries are rising.

This is only part of a trend that’s starting to emerge. Today, full stack marketers need to be data-driven and make decisions based on analysis and research. The problem is that sometimes it’s hard to translate rough data into action items in order to influence others and take strategic decisions.

The same goes for journalists, bloggers or nonprofits. They need to tell impactful stories that matter and make a difference. Solid numbers are the backbone of every newsworthy article, and they strengthen the story by translating it into memorable facts.

Here’s where our Heavy Data Infographic Layout comes into play. It allows everyone, from marketers to journalists, to break down an incredibly complex topic into an easy-to-consume design with only pertinent information.

3 Ideas When to Use the Data Heavy Layout

Offer a new take on reports. Reports, especially business reports, are usually boring and difficult to follow. You can spice things up by presenting your monthly, quarterly or yearly results via a heavy data layout infographic that has clear conclusions and calls to action.

report-2

Visualize survey results. A few months ago Piktochart brought in a new integration with Survey Monkey. Users can now display their survey results in minutes using specific Survey Monkey templates. This tool is ideal for students, market researchers or marketers who want to present their survey findings.

Survey Results

Raise awareness on issues that matter. This layout is perfect for journalists, bloggers or nonprofits who produce data heavy articles that focus on numbers and stats. For instance, take the current refugee crisis in Europe. There are many discussions about whether or not to open the doors to refugees. What people need is solid information about the crisis in the refugees’ home and neighboring countries. An infographic explaining the conflict using numbers will help raise awareness of the issue and steer people towards more informed decisions.

Breast cancer awareness infographic

The Mise-En-Place: Preparing for the Heavy Data Layout

Mise en place is a French culinary phrase which means “putting in place”. It refers to cutting, organizing and arranging the ingredients that a cook requires for menu preparation.

Likewise, you will need to do some prep work with your infographic beforehand to make sure the end result will be solid. This is especially true when working with data, because transforming an ocean of numbers into an easy-to-read design is complex.

1 – Start by looking at the target audience and prioritizing data. Think about the metrics that will have the highest impact.

2 – Study and analyze your numbers to decide which charts to use. For instance, if there are too many variables, don’t use a pie chart. Pie charts are perfect for communicating big ideas and proportions quickly. Line charts are perfect for describing growth, or how data evolves through time. Finally, bar charts, which are the most versatile of all graphs, are perfect for comparing classes or groups of data.

3 – Finish by planning the structure of the layout. A good data-based infographic should have an introduction, which means a title and a brief description, followed by content and should end with a conclusion.

Look at Piktochart’s ‘Education and Poverty in America’ template.

Matt

Designer Tips – What to Remember When Designing a Heavy Data Layout

The Do’s – Or Things To Imitate

  • Before you start throwing data at your readers, include a title and an intro to the subject to clarify what you’ll be sharing.
  • Think deeply about your data and topic. Then, look through all of the charts available in Piktochart to decide which one to use in advance. 
  • If location is involved, consider using maps. Piktochart has a tool for that too!
  • Emphasize numbers/percentages. A good tip is to make numbers two or three times bigger than text. Use frame texts to place even more emphasis on the numbers. 
Emphasizing on text!
  • Use subtitles or banners like frame texts or shapes to divide the content.
  • Use icons to help support your numbers. Take a look at this example from our Poverty template:
Captura de pantalla 2015-09-19 a las 16.24.02

Don’t’s – Or Things To Avoid

  • Don’t inundate your infographic with heavy data. With an abundance of information, it’s extremely important to manage whitespace like a pro. If you have too many charts, it won’t be interesting or readable, and users will decide to skip your content. The best solution is to play around with different charts types, and ways to portray numbers.
  • Don’t make your charts too complicated. Focus on making them easy to grasp and understand. Avoid graphs like the one below!
Radar graphs aren't good for infographics!

This post is part of September’s Layout Series. Feel free to check it out!

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