Monday, April 25, 2011

Infographics - Own your Information

I am a Visual Arts teacher, just so you might start to understand my next comment.

I love good Infographics !


I can not think of another technique that condenses the essence of a message down into a more accessible and easily understood medium. I love the way that;

- the graphic can be the of hero the story
- simple images can tell complicated stories
- the combination of graphics and facts can explain a   complex concept
- facts and figures can be portrayed in an exciting and visually appealing way
- the portrayal of the information becomes as important as the message
    Sometimes I think it is this last point that interests me the most. I said once before that I would never present my students with a worksheet or e-textbook that I did not find visually stimulating. I have also stated that one of my objectives is to get my students to consider how they present information for their audience - if it look unappealing why would anyone what to read it. I have included a slideshow of some beautiful Infographics produced by a number of talented graphic designers.


    I have started to get my own students to think about presenting certain information in this format. We have had some basic success, so I decided to find some tools that would allow us to make professional looking infographics. I found a great post over at MakeUseOf called 10 Awesome Free Tools To Make Infographics put together by Angela Alcorn.

    10 Awesome Free Tools To Make Infographics:
    infographicsInformation graphics, visual representations of data known as infographics, keep the web going these days. Web users, with their diminishing attention spans, are inexorably drawn to these shiny, brightly coloured messages with small, relevant, clearly-displayed nuggets of information. They’re straight to the point, usually factually interesting and often give you a wake-up call as to what those statistics really mean.

    Who can resist a colourful, thoughtful venn diagram anyway? In terms of blogging success, infographics are far more likely to be shared than your average blog post. This means more eyeballs on your important information, more people rallying for your cause, more backlinks and more visits to your blog. In short, a quality infographic done well could be what your blog needs right now.

    Designing An Infographic
    • Some great tips for designing infographics:
    • Keep it simple! Don’t try to do too much in one picture.
    • Decide on a colour scheme.
    • Research some great facts and statistics.
    • Think of it as a visual essay: ensure your arguments hold and are relevant.
    • Remember that it’s all about quickly conveying the meaning behind complex data.
    • Draw conclusions.
    • Reference your facts in the infographic.
    • Include your URL so people can be sure who made it.
    infographics

    Ideas for infographic formats include:
    • Timelines;
    • Flow charts;
    • Annotated maps;
    • Graphs;
    • Venn diagrams;
    • Size comparisons;
    • Showing familiar objects or similar size or value.
    Creating Your Infographic
    • Plan and research.
    • If required, use free software to create simple graphs and visualisations of data.
    • Use vector graphic software to bring these visualisations into the one graphic.
    Ultimately, if you have a little design skill, the very best approach is to create all the simple graphs and illustrations yourself using vector graphic software. Your end result will be more visually attractive and you will have more freedom to be creative with it.

    Free Online Tools For Creating Infographics
    1. Stat Planet


    Stat Planet allows you to create some amazing interactive visualisations, which you can then use as is or create a static image. It can be used within your browser or downloaded for free. Stat Planet gives you access to some great world data and lets you customise that in your visualisations. It also has some great map-based visualisations to try.
    information graphics

    2. Hohli

    Hohli is an intuitive, simple online chart maker. It’s incredibly easy to pick your chart type, add some data, vary the sizes and colours and see the finished chart. The finished charts are also very well designed and look great!

    information graphics

    3. Creately

    Creately lets you make easy-to-make diagrams and flow charts (easy to collaborate too). When you start, you can choose from a number of purpose-designed diagram types and quickly add your data to make your own chart. The end result looks very professional.
    information graphics


    4. New York Times

    New York Times’ Visualization Lab lets you use statistics from recent NYTimes articles to create visualisations in various formats. You can also see other people’s visualisations and see how other people choose to display the same data.

    data graphics

    5. Many Eyes

    Many Eyes lets you upload your own data or use data already stored on the site. The visualisations themselves are well-designed and very professional-looking. This is definitely the easiest way to use your own data for online visualisations.
    data graphics



    Google Public Data lets you easily take public data and transform it into an infographic of your choice. These beautiful, colourful graphics simplify and communicate the data perfectly
    data graphics

    7. Tableau

    Tableau is a free Windows-only software for creating visualisations. As you can see, these impressive graphs are colourful and quite unique.


    GapMinder is a free Adobe Air (cross-platform by nature) application to ensure you have current data on major world issues and can create visualisations for your purposes. Data is updated yearly and released with new versions of the application. The visuals are also quite impressive!



    9. Inkscape

    Inkscape is a free vector graphic software available for many platforms. This is the ideal free option for the creation of your overall infographic. Simple and intuitive, you should have no problems importing your visualisations and combining them with other visuals to create your masterpiece.

    infographics


    10. Wordle

    Wordle lets you create word visualisations using text you enter. There are plenty of interesting designs to choose from. Enter whole books, short passages or see what other people have used. In this example, we can see the US constitution visualised.



    11 comments:

    1. I am presenting on this topic at ISTE11...

      Support page:
      http://linkyy.com/infographics

      ReplyDelete
    2. Wow! This post has just opened a whole new world of learning for me (and by extension, for my students.) Thanks for being so generous in sharing these awesome tools for making infographics. I always admire them but they have seemed too daunting to try to make myself - until now. I will give this a try!!

      Ingrid @mmeveilleux

      ReplyDelete
    3. Wordle is excellent - I am currently procrastinating away a few hours with Inkscape too! I first heard of infographics last year - and as a lover of the poster form (for art/disseminating info etc..) I also fell in love with the infographic. I am not a great artist but I think with one or two of the right tools I can create something beautiful. My friend makes them and this is his most recent creation: Green marketing infographic.

      ReplyDelete
    4. I discovered infographics while browsing the New York Times Learning Network and was instantly captivated by it. Also the following sites have some good examples and know how: http://www.infographicsshowcase.com/ and http://www.coolinfographics.com/
      Chris Felton has an interesting take on it by an annual summary of his year. As a High School Biology teacher, I want to use this tool but haven't come up with it yet. I think I need a broad topic first. Any ideas?

      ReplyDelete
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      ReplyDelete
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