They used to say a picture paints a thousand words. Now they just hand you a picture.
Infographics have all but taken over the Internet, social media and marketing.
After starting out as strange bedfellows, visuals and text have proved they can work together very well, providing a compelling (and fun) way to illustrate complex or detailed data points in a uniquely digestible format.
- Big in BI
Infographics are also big news in business intelligence (BI), for their ability to increase user adoption (which has languished between 10% and 20% over the last decade).
How do they accomplish this? Firstly, by making BI accessible to more people, thereby broadening its reach, and secondly, by shortening BI’s learning curve, thereby accelerating its adoption. This happens in one of 8 ways.
- Infographics are familiar
Non-technical users often struggle with the ‘foreignness’ of reporting and analytics. All those numbers and strange words! Even reasonably intuitive visual outputs can be challenging at first. The infographic format, on the other hand, uses familiar, simple graphical symbols and minimal text to give new and business users the confidence to dive into and act upon data-driven insights.
- They’re fun
Well-constructed infographics are an engaging, intuitive and entertaining way of conveying facts and figures. This distinctive mix of fun and function generates a unique sense of gratification, which builds a connection between information and audience and keeps people coming back for more.
- They’re sharable
People have always loved a good statistic, but infographics are the perfect vessel for powerfully and memorably communicating data points and learnings. BI that promotes sharing of data-based insights in this way improves organisational IQ, drives smarter decision-making and finds resonance throughout organisations.
- They’re fast
The flexibility of infographic design allows structuring and ordering of information in very specific ways and enables greater control over the message being conveyed. This allows users to quickly absorb key points and data relationships in logical, guided fashion.
- They’re great at relationships
Research shows that information is retained better if delivered via multiple avenues. Infographics are practically peerless at combining dissimilar information and communication mediums – e.g. images, icons, charts, maps, text, numbers and colour – into one highly effective communications device. If BI users can derive deeper insights and recall the significance of those insights when required, they’ll keep logging onto your BI platform.
- They tell a good story
The flexibility to include a range of elements in an infographic and portray them in pixel-perfect glory also means they’re an excellent mechanism for data storytelling – the concept of weaving data points into a narrative. Not only is conveying information in a story format more persuasive, it’s more memorable.
- They eat big data for breakfast
As we analyse ever more data and data types from more sources than ever before, it’s vital to separate the gold from the garbage. With a unique blend of information types, infographics have an uncanny ability to efficiently organise, condense and distil large and complex data into a bite-size, actionable format. And successfully guiding users during analytics – from information to insight and action – is critical to BI adoption.
- They’re OK with your ADD
Neurological research reveals that the sheer volume of information we’re now expected to consume has reengineered our brains in a way that reduces our ability to focus on any one thing for a significant amount of time. Well-designed infographics provide an ideal solution. They’re highly ‘scannable’ in ways that other modes of data delivery can’t match.
- Be a BI hero
So, if you’re tired of low adoption rates as a BI professional and are looking for ways to engage your user base, find the tools that empower you to quickly deliver beautiful infographics your users will love and remember.
By Gustav Piater