Visual representations of data have been around for a lifetime now, but in just two years (2010-2012) Google searches for infographics increased by 800% according to blogger Jeff Bullas*. This isn’t much of a surprise, given the rise of social media it is becoming increasingly necessary for content and data to be presented in bite-size, digestible chunks, thus resulting in a ‘boom’ of Infographics.
So what is an infographic and why are they so popular?
An infographic, for the uninitiated, is data that is sorted, arranged and presented in a visual manner. Brain-dump: 65% of us are visual thinkers; 50% of our brain is dedicated to visual functions; and our average attention span lasting a mere 8 seconds. Infographics therefore hit a sweet-spot in terms of presenting content in a way that’s better tailored to the way our brains process content. It’s no wonder that infographics seem to be the way forward.
Every day, we are presented with vast amounts of information, so much so that the average person is exposed to enough data to fill 174 newspapes. As a result we often scan read large amounts of data, without fully processing the information we’re reading.
In terms of sensory input, 90% of all information sent to our brain is visual, with the processor behind our eye-balls chewing through images a whopping 60-times faster that text. All that said we forget more than 80% of what we read and hear, only retaining a tiny 20%.
In this context, infographics are great for a number of reasons, but a big seller is due to the fact they allow us to digest data at a higher rate. With more than 40% of the world’s population now being online, a somewhat dramatic increase from the 1% during 1995, the rise of social media is forever growing. This has enabled sites like Facebook and Twitter to allow people - and more importantly companies - to share and spread information at a rapid pace via social media platforms.
So let us shed a little light on exactly what we mean. The hashtag ‘infographic’ was tweeted 56,765 times during March 2012, and at it’s peak a phenomenal 3,365 tweets in just 24 hours. Now imagine how many people that content reached!
We decided to delve a little deeper for some statistics and discovered that visual content plays a key part when it comes to the ever growing world of Twitter. For example, did you know that there is a 832% increase in retweets if your tweet contains visual content! This also links us to the fact that people are three times more likely to share visual content than just words. The result of using visual content also plays a fundamental role in average page views, resulting in a huge 756% increase if your page presents visuals. Crazy statistics right?
We are visual creatures, so it’s no surprise really that 40% of us will favour and visit visual based website.
So in short lets just say the positives for using visual content to present your data is pretty phenomenal. Facts and figures don’t lie, or so the old saying goes, so we believe we should start using infographics.