Last July I wrote a post dedicated to the various types of interactive content. Interactive infographics got a brief mention in that post. I decided to come back and add a bit more detail about how you can be successful in creating your own interactive infographics. It’s a type of content that’s not as widely seen as the standard blog post or video, but can still be highly valuable in nearly any niche.
So, if you’re ready to build an interactive infographic for your business, let’s dive into some tips that will ensure you (and your audience) will have a good experience.
Think About Where the Content Will Be Hosted
Before you start developing the content, think about where it will be when it’s completed. Most of the time, the content will be either embedded in a blog post or another piece of content, or placed on its own microsite.
If you’ve already got a website or blog that gets a lot of traffic, it’s a good idea to embed it in content there. This helps you get more eyes on your content and may even contribute to a boost in traffic to your website through infographic promotion efforts.
But if you want the infographic to stand out on its own, you may want to consider creating a dedicated microsite for it. This is a good option if you’re not happy with your current website, and want to give a fresh face to your content. You can use it as an entrance to your existing website, to give you a better first impression.
You have limitless options because you have total control over the browser window and the web technology you use, but if you embed the content on your existing website, you’re limited to whatever predefined standards are already in place there.
Start with Meaningful Data
Whether you’re creating an interactive or standard infographic, it can only be as good as the topic and data you find. You must research and select the information before you can work on any design elements. Carefully choose your sources and get as much relevant information as you possibly can.
As you’re researching, think about the topic of the infographic, and what you way to communicate to your audience with it. Focus on the main points you want to get across, and find data that supports those main points.
If you don’t focus on those areas, you’ll just get lost spending hours finding data and trying to find a way to include all of it. Every piece of information available on a particular topic does not belong in a single infographic… so keep yourself on track.
Tell the Readers a Story
Once you’ve fathered all the data you need, it’s time to figure out the story you want to tell your readers. Think about the purpose of the infographic. Do you want to promote a product or service? Are you trying to inform and educate the audience to get them to take some sort of action on an issue?
Without the story, you have nothing more than dull and boring data – which is all it was before you started to compile it. Yes, an infographic can take dull and boring data and turn into something readers want to read and share, but it needs the story angle alongside great design to do it.
Consider how you’re going to tell the story and deliver the message. Think about the logical flow of a story, and how you can transform the data you have into a flowing story of its own.
Let the Audience Inform the Appearance and Interactivity
Once you’ve gathered the data and have figured out the story you want to tell and how you’re going to tell it, it’s time to focus on the visual appeal of all the information. Think about the infographic’s overall look and feel. Consider the audience, too.
For instance, if you’re creating an interactive infographic related to a product launch, it should share many of the same elements as the company branding. Knowing who the target audience for the infographic is will also help you decide the style and tone you want to use throughout. If you’re targeting young professionals, create something based on their character and style. If you’re targeting teenagers on the other hand, the content needs to be shorter, and the design more vibrant. If you’re designing for middle-aged people, choose design and functionality features that mimic how they behave on the internet.
Hide Some Information
One way to get users actively participating with the infographic experience is to hide some information that becomes viewable with clicks or rollovers. This promotes curiosity and exploration, but also allows users to skip over the information or topics they don’t find interesting. This creates a unique and personalized experience for the viewer, without suggesting that they don’t need to continue with the rest if the infographic.
Add Scrolling or Pagination
Adding scrolling or pagination will add a bit of required interactivity from your viewers. It typically will trigger some kind of transition or animation, while also enticing users to finish what they’ve started. (It’s the same reason we feel the need to keep turning the lever on a jack in the box toy. We must get to the end.)
This technique also draws your viewers into the story so they feel more engaging without overtaxing their interest limits. You can use scrolling with simple narratives, so that while the content itself is fairly basic, adding scrolling improves the overall communication.
Using a multi-page approach allows users to click through content, rather than scroll. They can click through the content at their own pace, so they can take all the time they need to digest each piece of information before moving to the next.
Proofread, Edit, and Test
At this point, you have a finished infographic design, and you’re ready to share it all over the web. Resist the urge to start promotion just yet. Just one careless mistake can take a great piece of content and turn it into an annoyance for your audience.
Leave the infographic alone for a few days and come back to look at it with fresh eyes. If you can’t wait a few days, ask a trusted friend or colleague who is great at spotting typos to take a look at it for you. Since we know what we meant, it’s harder for us to see the simple typos, so we can look right at one and still be blind to it.
And since this is an interactive infographic rather than static, you will want to take time to test the infographic for bugs. Test it on a number of devices, paying attention to not only functionality but speed as well. If something doesn’t work correctly once it gets to the final audience, it’s going to give them a bad impression.
Promote, Promote, Promote
When everyone who has stake in the infographic is pleased with it, it’s time to make it public. Host it based on how you chose to handle that in the first step – either embedded in a blog post, or on its own domain as a microsite.
Then, get ready to promote the heck out of it. Find influencial bloggers and news sites in the relevant niche, and connect with them. Send them high quality visuals and a summary of the piece to make it easier for them to craft a blog post to share the infographic.
Post the infographic to social media websites such as Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook with relevant hashtags. Consider using social media and other pay per click ads to drive traffic to the infographic.
Submit the infographic to relevant directories, send it out in an email blast to subscribers, and so on.
Not all topics that make for great infographics make for great interactive infographics. It’s important to think about the overall finished product as you build it. If you’re having to force interactivity to make it work, then it’s better suited as a static infographic. Static infographics can still be great for your content marketing efforts, too.
Do you use interactive infographics in your content strategy? Why or why not? Share your thoughts below.