Just get over Infographics! It is high time that webmasters face the fact that not just every Infographic will be a hit. You are bound to hit walls head first if you don’t spice up your Infographics. There was a time when people had understood the importance of the word Infographic. Soon, almost every heading in my feed had the word INFOGRAPHIC leading the title. It is not the case now because not every Infographic goes viral nowadays.
So, does this mean that the era of Infographics was short lived? Well, not really! Infographics do go viral if they have that touch of brilliance attached with them. One such touch is the interactivity which is pushed along with every new Infographic. Yeah, the Interactive Infographics will soon be the talk of the town. Ready for it?
The Current State of Infographics
Not good! Don’t get me wrong but I am someone who calls a spade a spade. And, as of now, the state of Infographics on the Internet is not good. I agree that some of the best Infographics were launched in the year 2011 and they might still make some sense but they don’t send chills down your spine. Hardly any of them does that! Just like the static infographic by PS Translation below:
The web is full of Infographic Resources and Infographic Designing Tips but all of them talk about the static form of Infographic that we are aware of. It is time to change. It is time to add some dynamics to our static Infographics.
Interactive Infographics Is The Future
If you notice the Google Trends below for the keyword “Infographic” then you will understand how the term Infographic picked up fame by January 2011. The interest of Internet users kept rising and the overflow of Infographics can be co-related with this trend.
Lately, a new form of Infographic has appeared out of the blue. Though it isn’t yet a trend still you will find few dynamic Infographics doing well these days. These Infographics are more than just jpeg images. They are a sorted combination of HTML5 and CSS3 so as to bring in some interactivity to the final layout. The motion element in these Interactive Infographics attracts user attention and the richer end user experience keeps the visitors riveted for longer periods.
Why Do We Need Interactive Infographics?
Interactive Infographics are the need of the hour due to their interactive features. A lot has been discussed already about the advantages of interactive features. One of the most famous research work was done by Ben Shneiderman. His paper – The Eyes Have It – starts with the following abstract:
A useful starting point for designing advanced graphical user interfaces is the Visual InformationSeeking Mantra: Overview first, zoom and filter, then details-on-demand. But this is only a starting point in trying to understand the rich and varied set of information visualizations that have been proposed in recent years. This paper offers a task by data type taxonomy with seven data types (1-, 2-, 3-dimensional data, temporal and multi-dimensional data, and tree and network data) and seven tasks (overview, zoom, filter, details-on-demand, relate, history, and extract)
Lately, there was another in-depth paper which categorized Role of Interaction in Information Visualization by Ji Soo Yi, Youn ah Kang, John T. Stasko, Member, IEEE, and Julie A. Jacko. The categories presented in this research can act as framework which helps in discussing and evaluating interaction techniques. These categories will help us to go deeper into the foundation of Interactive Infographics and understand the science of interaction. Let us go through the categories one after the other:
- Select: mark something as interesting
- Explore: show me something else
- Reconfigure: show me a different arrangement
- Encode: show me a different representation
- Abstract/Elaborate: show me more or less detail
- Filter: show me something conditionally
- Connect: show me related items
Another in-depth study that understands the importance of interactive dynamics is Taxonomy of Visualizations by Jeffrey and Ben Schneiderman. The study proposes the following pointers under their taxonomy of interactive dynamics for visual analysis:
Data and View Specification
- Visualize data by choosing visual encoding.
- Filter out data to focus on relevant items.
- Sort items to expose patterns.
- Derive values or models from source data.
- Select items to highlight, filter, or manipulate them.
- Navigate to examine high-level patterns and low level details.
- Coordinate views for linked, multi-dimensional exploration.
- Organize multiple windows and workspaces.
Process and Provenance
- Record analysis histories for re-visitation, review and sharing.
- Annotate patters to document findings.
- Share views and annotations to enable collaboration.
- Guide users through analysis, tasks or stories.
This case study has explained the importance of interactive visualizations in a very concise and beautiful manner. It is a must read:
Visualization provides a powerful means of making sense of data. By mapping data attributes to visual properties such as position, size, shape, and color, visualization designers leverage perceptual skills to help users discern and interpret patterns within data.11 A single image, however, typically provides answers to, at best, a handful of questions. Instead, visual analysis typically progresses in an iterative process of view creation, exploration, and refinement. Meaningful analysis consists of repeated explorations as users develop insights about significant relationships, domain-specific contextual influences, and causal patterns. Confusing widgets, complex dialog boxes, hidden operations, incomprehensible displays, or slow response times can limit the range and depth of topics considered and may curtail thorough deliberation and introduce errors. To be most effective, visual analytics tools must support the fluent and flexible use of visualizations at rates resonant with the pace of human thought.
As of now the world of Interactive Infographics hasn’t evolved enough yet there have been few interactive infographics that smartly used HTML5, CSS and jQuery to come up with results that astonished many. Someday, 1WD will proudly publish a huge showcase of Interactive Infographics just like we have been done in past with static Infographics like Valentine Infographics and other cool Infographics. But, for now I guess we will wrap it up with a mini showcase of Interactive Infographics and leave you to think how you can design your next “Interactive” Infographic.
How Music Travels is a first stage Interactive Infographic that uses dynamic graphics in order to give us a visual of how music has traveled around the planet with time.
State of the Internet is one of those creations that will leave you in awe. Jaws Dropped! The dynamic Infographic is full of amazing facts and moving content that keeps the viewer riveted.
World’s Best Countries is another piece of hard work in the field of Interactive Infographics. You will notice how a news based website has gone over the top to help its users play with data which is usually static and boring. It teaches you a lot and keeps you wanting for more.
Oh Gawwd! This is another piece of art which will force you to fall in love with the creation. You can move the car using your keyboard and pass by loads of information about Car Sharing. Wanna go green?
Rough! That is one word which comes to my mind when I see this screaming Interactive Infographic. I wish most of the websites were like this only. It makes you click on the stories and dive into trends. It will force you to be a part of itself.