Having snuck through the back doors I am in the 2nd ATD2015 session to be sold-out (ask me which was the first 🙂 where our speaker Mike Parkinson is here to help us do a good job faced with two simple truths: Most of the information we process and things we do happen intuitively. And visual cues always win.
(My apologies In advance for the lack of visuals in this post … jump to the end if you are impatient!)
A successful graphic is defined as one where the target audience gets the intended message (quickly). If you (or your subject-matter-expert) doesn’t like the graphic, that doesn’t matter. As long as the audience gets it.
To make good info graphics, we need to first have a good conceptual approach to communication: Think of your audience, define your message and then explain or prove your point.
As any presentation skills trainer (hopefully) knows, a good message has to have a blend of benefit and required action. For example: “Define a good message to be sure your audience gets the point.” (See also my little video on: “Creating Strong Messages“)
And that’s why you need to know your audience. Example: I buy a drill because I want to make a hole. But someone else might buy a drill to be sure that he never has to ask his Dad for a tool, because that would show dependence on a parent (!)
If you have your message clear, you need now to answer 2 more questions: “What do you mean?” and “How do I do it?” According to the speaker, these 2 questions are basically always the same. And that’s what we need to put in our infographic: First chunk the information, then assemble it in the right order, then visualise it.
To chunk the information, look at your message (its “what” and “how”) into the smallest possible parts. Then you need to assemble it into to a story. This doesn’t have to be a full story. Just a simple pitch which puts things in the right order. At this point, we haven’t yet visualised anything. We are just trying to get the right things in the right order.
When it comes to visualising your message, we need first to know what “kind” of message we have:
- Process graphics tell us what has to happen in which ord
- Graphs and charts tell us how number fit together
- “Dashboard” images, analogies and metaphors tell us the state of something
OK, now we have our message, which is relevant for our audience. We have chunked it down into parts and made sense of the story. And we know which type of infographic it is.
We just need some images and a little creativity.
..and maybe some of these resources:
- www.GetMyGraphic.com/GMG.pdf for every graphic you will ever need
- www.creativebloq.com/infographic/tools-2131971 for a whole bunch of resources
- www.canva.com helps you make infographics for free (also available as an iOS app which I will be trying with pleasure real soon)
- Check out smore (example) if you want to make flyers
…and now, for that magical moment: My first (prizewinning!) infographic on … wait for it … how to make infographics, made with penultimate (without a pen!) on my iPad in less than 5 minutes following speaker Mike Parkinson’s process.