Business presentations, sales meetings, and articles are more likely to draw attention and get remembered if they’re accompanied by information graphics, known as “infographics” today. If you’ve ever had to read several chapters of dry text for a class, you understand how dull technical information can be.
For hundreds of years, pictures have helped to tell stories and make them memorable. Human beings store information as images in their minds, so it makes sense that they’ll have better recall if it’s presented with bold colors.
More recently, animations have been shown to have a similar effect. Infographics combine strong colors, informative tidbits of information, and in some cases, animations to draw readers in and help them understand complex information in a way that they’ll remember later. They can be used for simple datasets or very complicated information.
Internet web designers may neglect to use inforgraphics because they don’t have graphic design experience or the money to pay someone to create a design.
Now they don’t have to. These four free programs help novices create stunning infographics in minutes.
At Visual.ly, users can subscribe to topics that interest them, follow their favorite designers, and browse sophisticated, pre-developed infographics they can embed into their own websites for free without having to do research or develop a topic.
Embeddable information graphics found on Visual.ly are among the most appealing you’ll find anywhere, with bold colors and intriguing animations that command attention. Because most of them aren’t customizable, they are best used for websites and print media that have flexible needs.
Social media users will discover a few fun templates that allow limited customization.
Developed by IBM, ManyEyes lets users choose one of its existing data sets or upload their own. There are more than 10,000 data sets in its toolbox. Once you’ve selected the topic you want to present or chosen your own, click to preview how it will look in any of the available formats.
Categories include word and tag clouds, comparisons, plots, and time analyses. Each category offers a variety of formats. For instance, if you need to do a comparison of political candidates or financial data, you could select a pie chart format, a bar graph, or one of the other available options.
Users that want customized infographics can easily create them with the StatSilk family of software. StatPlanet, StatTrends, and StatWorld let you choose from bar graphs, pie charts, and mapping software. Select your download, plug in the data you want readers to see, and create an infographic that has everything you want, but nothing you don’t.
Of the four resources on this page, it is the only one that requires downloading the software to your computer, so users who are stumped by an employer’s firewall might want to check out ManyEyes to get the same functionality without downloading.
Flow charts, site maps, network diagrams, and twenty other templates can be created in just a few minutes with Create.ly. What it lacks in flashy graphics is balanced by its functionality for a wide array of business presentation and documents.
Create.ly is best for users who want to present technical information in a no-frills, easy-to-read format.
You don’t want your hard work to go to waste! Infographics helps ensure your efforts are remembered. Whether you need to draw attention to information on your website, in print materials, or for a business presentation, you’ll find the right tool for the job at one of these four sites.
David Kendall contributed this guest post on behalf of WhoIsHostingThis.com – visit their site to see what they say on their hosting reviews. David is a freelance technology writer who enjoys writing for various online publications.