User experience and infographics

Posted on Apr 23, 2016


Infographics are more than Pintrest fodder. They are potential kryptonite for user experiences. This morning (23 June 2015) the Guardian ran an insightful piece on the stark absence of female artists at UK music festivals this year. The remarkable feature was the supporting infographics. The article was garnished with nothing more than redacted festival posters, listing only the appearing female artists. The images told the story in seconds. Beautifully too. It was a fine example of content usability.

Infographics are hugely popular and regularly listed as one of the 5 killer tools for brands building a social footprint. Their origins may be rooted in the culture of big data. However, they hark to the founding truths of design and advertising… encoding a much bigger story in the most succinct and engaging shorthand possible.

By nature, it’s reductive content. And that’s where it’s going to become hard currency over the next couple of years, to cut through the explosion in textual content marketing.

Apart from the clunky era of print advertorials, brands are now competing with publishers with essentially the same product… stories built out of words and pictures. What this trend neglects is the need for considered user experience (UX). Audiences won’t have time to absorb all this content in its raw and verbose form. So we need to think about making their lives easier to get our stories downloaded in the most compelling ways.

Like a well-planned web application, infographics will provide users a shorter trail through brand stories and online content. The more startling and innovative the thinking, the more social engagement will be achieved.

So whilst many social marketing plans will be filling their Pintrest accounts with some beautiful data, it’s worth considering the much more fundamental role infographics will play in the emerging need for social user experience.