Let’s face it – greeting your reader with a long, intimidating wall of text is not the best way to encourage content consumption. That’s why more and more brands depend on visual content to improve user experience, aid information retention, and boost social media shareability.
Today, using infographics is one of the prime choices of small businesses and bloggers. Not only are they easy and cheap to make, certain infographic types also make it easier for the audience to digest data-rich information.
But just like any other form of online content, your reputation as an information source is on the line whenever you publish a new infographic. Professional-looking infographics can cement your authority and prove you’re on top of your game. Bad infographics, on the other hand, may discourage readership and put off prospective leads.
Without further ado, here are the top 7 signs of bad infographics you should watch out for:
1. Inaccurate Data
Using inaccurate or outdated data in your infographic is a surefire way to demolish your credibility. Even with top-notch design, readers will turn away from your brand if they find out that you’re feeding them wrong information.
The first thing you need to check is the credibility of your sources. If the publisher looks dubious, or can’t cite any credible research, survey, or study to support their claims, then they may be using self-serving data that’s anything but factual.
Fortunately, search engines like Google only include highly authoritative websites on the first page of their results. Just be sure to check for a more recent information to maximize the relevancy of your content. If you use Google, this can be done by clicking on Tools > Any time > Past year.
You can also include the current year in your search term. For example, instead of searching for “Visual Content Statistics”, you can try using “Visual Content Statistics 2017”.
2. Terrible Fonts
Fancy graphics alone won’t save your infographic from being terrible. What matters is that the audience gets the information they’re looking for. That said, make sure to use fonts that are easy to read and pleasant to the eye.
A rule of thumb is to avoid “script” fonts and opt for “sans-serif” fonts like Arial and Helvetica. These are widely considered the most readable fonts. Also play around with font size to distinguish between headlines, body content, and other tidbits of information such as data sources and additional notes.
3. Information Overload
While text elements are crucial, using lengthy paragraphs in your infographic beats the purpose of using visual content. Which is to speed up the acquisition of information. It can also ruin the design aspect of your infographic and make it appear cluttered.
Try to use no more than 6 stats for each point in your infographic. More data is always helpful for making a point, but having too much may turn analysis into paralysis. As much as possible, all data should be relevant to the topic and in tune with the message you’re trying to send. A good strategy is to ask: how will this data enforce the action I want the audience to take?
4. Bland Design
In the past few years, the concept of flat design and minimalism have conquered the digital space. As much as they are effective in highlighting key information, it’s difficult to use them in an entertaining way – especially when it comes to infographic design.
Much of this is due to the existence of DIY infographic design tools that offer a number of free templates but fall short in terms of visual appeal and uniqueness. As a result, there are tons of generic-looking infographics that feature the same structure.
Always go the extra mile and let your creativity run wild when designing your infographic. Pay attention to details such as textures, shadows, icons, and color choices that affect the overall look. If you have the capability, consider hiring a freelancer or design agency to beautify your infographic once you’ve got the script, color choices, and design idea.
5. Inconsistent Design
You can be as out-of-the-box and over-the-top as you want – just be sure everything appears cohesive from start to finish. If you use 2 or more design schemes in a single infographic, it can confuse your audience and distract them from absorbing your message.
To create an infographic that’s streamlined and flows when read, create your infographic script as if you’re writing web copy. It must have an introduction, main body, some actionable tips, and an empowering conclusion. As you plot the outline of your infographic, begin to visualize how each section is represented and introduced into the audience’s experience.
6. Unclear Topic
Be careful when creating infographics that may disappoint your audience. To set their expectations, write a title, tagline, and introduction that clarifies what the infographic is all about.
What’s more important is that you never stray too far from the original topic at hand. If you start with a question, the audience must end the infographic with a conclusive answer. You can introduce a few trivial tidbits from time to time, but you should never write an entire paragraph on something completely irrelevant.
7. Terrible Copy
Do yourself a favor and reread your infographic script aloud – just one more time before you proceed with the design process. Do all the sections make sense when read from top to bottom? Are the words flowing smoothly out of your mouth?
If you’re fairly capable of writing engaging copy, then use a tool like Grammarly. It lets you quickly spot inconsistencies and grammatical mistakes. It will also help you improve the readability of your writing through automated suggestions.
But in case writing isn’t one of your strengths, or if English isn’t your native language, then you may have no choice but to hire a freelance infographic script writer. Alternatively, you may consider transcription services like GoTranscript that can also translate your original works into readable copy.
8. Wrong Visualizations
Data visualizations are the main building blocks of a well-made infographic. There are some pieces that claim to be “infographics”, but are merely blocks of text condensed in an image format. As such, they can be just as boring as plain-text articles to the audience.
Use the appropriate visualization for certain data types. For example, to compare 2 objects, you wouldn’t create a map infographic. A Venn diagram or comparison list would be more appropriate since it can single-handedly accomplish your goal.
This isn’t to say you can’t use multiple visualization types in a single infographic. But remember the more you use, the more complicated and confusing it can be for your audience. The key is to use fewer visualizations that cover more of the story – thus, allowing the audience to find the information they need in the shortest amount of time. Of course, this will also save you a great deal of time and money when creating infographics.
In a world where content is produced left and right, brands need to be extra creative if they want to cut through the content noise and grab their target audience’s attention. Incorporating infographics in your strategy may be a new frontier for you. But it’s one of those strategies where results are almost guaranteed. Just remember to take extra care during the research, design, and distribution processes to reap their full benefits.