Here’s the situation:
You’ve been instructed to conduct a poll or survey and present your findings to a group of people. Great, that seems simple enough. But upon receiving the results from your survey, you’re overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data before you. What do you do? The solution may be easier than you imagined. You can transform that data into an infographic, making the results much easier for an audience that may not understand where your data is coming from to interpret.
Step 1: The first step is finding your data’s story
All data has a story or a purpose. Finding your data’s story is essentially finding a correlation between the human experience and your survey results. This basically means finding something in the data that people can connect to on an emotional level. Many people’s concern is that the theme of the data is boring. They do not believe that an audience will be able to connect with it on an emotional level. The challenge is then in finding an interesting angle to that information.
Mint.com is a finance and budgeting software, but their infographics are highly engaging. Why? Because they add a compelling spin. For instance, the following infographic is about data privacy. Usually, this isn’t a subject that turns heads, however rather than simply informing people about general data privacy, the infographic addresses how to deal with the worst case scenario; the possibility of having your financial information compromised. Suddenly the importance of data privacy becomes much more intriguing because you can connect on a personal level with the topic.
Step 2: Choosing the right charts and graphics
The next step in transforming your data into an infographic is knowing which charts to use. There are plenty of different possibilities available to you.
Pictograms and Icon Charts
If there is an important number that you want to emphasize or highlight that can be conveyed as a percentage or ratio, use a pictogram. This is a great way to visualize the number in a way that really complements the text. You can also use an icon chart, which is an icon that has two different color tones. The percentage of one specific color represents the ratio you are attempting to convey.
Bar Charts and Column Charts
Most data visualization deals with comparing a set of data points. Anything that can be counted or categorized can be easily visualized using a bar or column chart. If your survey results came from a multiple choice question, this type of chart is a great choice.
Bubble Charts and Treemaps
If you are trying to emphasize a value that strongly stands out from the rest, you can use an area-based chart, such as a bubble chart or a treemap. These charts use area to visualize the value, instead of height or length, as in the case of a bar or column chart. This type of chart can really bring out the contrast when there is a dominant value. This works only if there is an outlier whose value is a lot larger than the others.
Other types of charts include timelines charts which are excellent for representing historical data, or showing a progression over time. Pie charts are a good choice for presenting a percentage, scatterplots are great for depicting distribution and line charts are a good choice if you want to demonstrate trends. If you’re looking for a tool to create charts in seconds, I recommend using the chart maker, Beam. It’s a free tool that is very easy to use and can spit out a chart in a matter of seconds.
Step 3: Choose a design that enhances your statistics
The next part is taking all of your charts and information and putting them together in an infographic. Here is an example of a Pokemon Go infographic that was put together based on survey results from the company Pollfish.
Infographic: Pokemon Go | Infographic Maker
Notice how there is clearly a lot of information and data that needed to be presented. However, the data is easy to follow since there was one dominant style used to convey the survey results- a donut chart. To simplify the interpretation of data more, icons are added beside the charts to further reinforce what the data is conveying.
In the part about the weirdest places that people have played the game, rather than merely listing out the locations, the infographic depicts the top-referenced places with images.
It’s important to note that just because you receive a lot of data from your survey, you don’t necessarily have to include everything in your design. Rather, pull the results that are the most prominent, and pick a couple of different chart styles you can stick to, which make the flow of information easier.
Lastly, use larger fonts and different colors to emphasize a number or data set that is an outlier. This will draw attention to it and tell your audience that it is an important statistic to keep note of.
When presented with a list of survey results, it can be very overwhelming for people to comprehend the information. Instead of trying to instruct people by simply presenting the numbers, try to use an infographic to visualize that data. It will make it much easier for the statistic to stick in your audience’s mind.