In the last couple of years, infographics have gone from being relatively obscure to being practically everywhere across the net. These are images designed to convey lots of information in a visually pleasing way and they have grown to become the webmaster’s secret weapon in bringing more inbound links to their site and increasing engagement with the target audience.
But why exactly are infographics so successful? And what can we learn from them that we might be able to apply to web design and internet marketing as a whole?
The Marriage of Image and Text
Infographics represent the perfect marriage of images and text, which can go some way to explaining their popularity. As we know, the influence of the web has greatly decreased our attention spans as we’ve become used to being able to immediately bring up any information we might crave.
If something doesn’t get to the point immediately, then we tend to go elsewhere. What this says about our psychology as a whole is open to debate, but it is certainly bad news for webmasters who are already struggling with high bounce rates.
There are various different ways we can counteract this shortening of the attention span. But one of the best is to break our information up into something that is immediately eye catching and visually pleasing. This way, the message is conveyed as soon as someone looks at our page and that is often enough to keep visitors hanging around for just that moment longer.
The Human Brain
The reason that we tend to sit up and take notice when we see an infographic, is that our brains are wired to give priority to visual stimuli. Reportedly, nearly 50% of the brain is dedicated to visual processing, while 70% of sensory receptors are located in the eye. It only takes us 0.01 seconds to get a ‘sense’ for a visual scene. This is simply the human condition – if the internet were designed for dogs, then ‘smellographics’ would probably be much more important…
Likewise, infographics allow their creators to employ other techniques designed to direct and hold attention. These include things like color psychology, the use of specific typefaces and even the incorporation of moving elements.
According to this infographic, the use of combined images has increased in literature by 400% since 1990 – so it’s not a trend that is entirely confined to the internet. In newspapers, there was an increase of 142% between 1985 and 1994. Online though, we’ve seen a huge increase of 9900% since just 2007.
Why would the use of infographics increase that much in such a short time even on the web? One very possible explanation is that technology has simply gotten to the point where it’s possible. In the past, large images would have taken a very long time to load and would have potentially been expensive on old mobile networks. Today, data transfers much faster and we have quality connections to the net – so why not fill it with colorful images?
strong>Because They’re Beautiful</>
Finally, infographics are simply attractive to look at and thus make your website attractive to look at. If you aren’t convinced by the potential of infographics, then just take a look at these for inspiration. Now don’t you want some for your own site?