How to design the perfect infographic

Thanks largely due to the fact that more information is at our fingertips now than at any point in human history, we’ve entered into an age where both of the following statements are true: People are consuming more content online than ever before; Fewer and fewer people are actually willing to spend time reading that content.

According to a study reported on by Slate, roughly 38% of people who click on an article or blog post online don’t actually make it past the headline. Of those that remain, a further 5% only ever read the first paragraph—if they don’t have to scroll, that is. If they do have to scroll, they don’t even make it that far.

A study from The Washington Post confirms this—only 41% of people in the United States said that they invested the time in consuming any in-depth content in the last week, even if that content was on a subject they were actively interested in pursuing.

As marketers, this presents something of a challenge to say the least. Quality content is more important than ever, as marketers all over the Web strive to “one up” each other in terms of the value they’re able to provide; both in terms of what users are looking for and to satisfy the needs of entities like Google.

So how do you check off both of these boxes at the same time, so to speak? Thankfully, the solution is simple—you lean heavily on the principles of visual communication and data visualization to repackage your marketing message in the form of stunning presentations and infographics, the likes of which people can’t seem to get enough of.

The most important thing to keep in mind in that regard, however, is that the chasm between an infographic and a quality, successful infographic is a deep one indeed. It you truly want to design the perfect Infographic that will capture the attention of your target audience, you’ll need to keep a few key things in mind.

Perfect infographics start with a thesis

The number one thing to understand about designing successful infographics is that it cannot just be “a bunch of stats or other figures arranged visually on a page.” Infographics, like any other marketing collateral, are used best when they’re telling a story.

In this particular case, that story just happens to be told primarily with figures and data as opposed to good, old-fashioned text.

Because of this, before you even get into the visual element of your Infographics you’ll need to settle on a thesis statement: What exactly are you trying to say? What impression do you want the reader to take away when they finally get to the end?

The answer to this question will dictate every choice you make moving forward, so it’s an important one to settle on as quickly as possible.

Structuring your infographic

Once you’ve settled on the story you’re trying to tell, the next thing to do is to nail down your structure.

Think of it a bit like telling a joke: First you introduce the setup, meaning the context that people need to understand what is to come; then, you expand on that setup and offer the hook (the thing that keeps people interested); finally, you hit them with the punch line (the surprise at the end of the joke that generates the laugh).

If you don’t have these core elements, or if they’re not in the appropriate order, your joke (or in this case, your infographic) won’t be nearly as successful as you need.

In terms of infographics, the ideal structure is as follows:

  • Introduce your topic, either by way of a short block of text or by a bold opening fact or figure.
  • Introduce a complication. This is a problem that you’re offering a solution to, or an idea that you’re going to be expanding on.
  • Expand on that complication. Your reader should learn why this topic is important and should slowly be able to get an idea of what you’re trying to say about it.
  • Finally, the conclusion. This is the period on the end of your sentence that sums up what someone has learned, what they can do with this information and where they can find more if they so choose.

All of the data that you collect for your infographic should be neatly placed within this framework, allowing you to see exactly where a particular point needs to go for maximum effect.

If something doesn’t fall in line with these core areas, it probably has no business being on your infographic at all.

Don’t forget about design

Just because you can make an infographic without a graphic design degree, doesn’t mean you can throw out all the tried-but-true rules of visual communication.

The data you arrange should naturally flow from top to bottom. These elements should be presented in a way that guides the reader from one point to the next, often without them even realizing you’re in control in the first place.

Each data point should build and expand on the one that came before it, eventually leading the reader directly to the beautiful climax (or punch line) that they were after in the first place.

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4 simple steps for perfect web navigation

From checking movie times, to reading a Photoshop tip, to reviewing the daily news, we can find almost any information we are looking for on the Internet. One part of a website that is especially important in helping us find what we are looking for is its navigation. 

When we engage with a website we use its navigation to help us find what we are looking for. Unfortunately, many websites have navigation that wasn’t particularly well planned. Sure it may work well enough to get to the information we are looking for, but often, it is only after some confusion—and utilizing that classic method of searching the web known as trial and error—that we able to do so. 

If the navigation of a website is poorly organized, has confusing wording or has too many links, it reduces our ability to use it to find what we are looking for in a quick and easy manner. Obvious and intuitive navigation is one of the key building blocks of a great website.These practices listed below will help you create more effective navigation as part of your website.

1. Make it clear

When a website visitor doesn’t know what to expect when clicking a link, or how to easily find what they are looking for, confusion results. Reduce confusion by designing your website’s navigation to be easy for visitors to understand.

Abercrombie & Fitch’s website provides an example of this concept. Their navigation is easy to understand from the first moment a visitor arrives at their website.

The use of clear labels, that are obvious at a glance, lets visitors know what your company does. From the start, they will know they are at the right place and how to get to where they want to be. Thoughtfully consider the terminology you use for the navigation of your website, making it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for.

Avoid creating navigation around the format of content, for instance, rather than having a videos page, create a ‘how to’ section with content separated by topic. Make it easy for users to find what they are looking for by describing content in the terms they will use. Visitors to your website probably will not be looking for a videos section, but they may be looking for tips on how to set up your product or how to use certain features.

Make it clear for visitors which items are navigation items. Subtlety will not help your website visitors get to where they want to be. For instance, even though it may look great to you, making links a slightly darker shade of gray than website text does not help create a great user experience. Don’t make visitors work to use your site.

2. Stay consistent

I am sure you have been to websites where it looks like part of their navigation was tacked on as an afterthought or it just doesn’t belong. This lack of consistency works to reduce trust on the part of site visitors, additionally, it reduces the quality of the user experience. If something just looks tacked on to you, it will most likely look the same or worse to your customers.

The nice, clean navigation of Bouguessa’s website is consistent and helps improve visitors’ experiences while on their site.

Another issue that tends to reduce the quality of navigation, is having items on menus that aren’t links, especially when they appear to be. When visitors click on menu items that don’t link it increases the level of confusion and consequently, the level of frustration. Use visual design to show which items are links and which are not, for instance, if you have headers as part of a mega menu, use a different font style, color or whitespace to indicate they are headers and not links.

Secondary navigation should also be designed consistently across your website. Apply the same focus and consideration to secondary navigation that you do to primary navigation. Regardless of where visitors are headed on your site, you want to provide a great experience.

If you have pages that are of primary importance that you want to be easier to access, create a feature block on your homepage or section landing page for it. Website visitors pay attention to these blocks, meanwhile, trying to highlight items on navigation menus can often disrupt the menu.

3. Keep it concise

Avoid creating menus with too many items. It is best if you can limit the number of items included as part of your menu to seven. Having fewer items to choose from is better for your website’s visitors. It creates less mental strain on the part of your visitors as they are making decisions and increases the chances that they will move forward.

Research has shown that the human brain uses chunking as a method to improve recall. By breaking data up into relevant groups or chunks, it allows us to understand and remember it better. This is an especially effective technique for larger websites that need more than seven menu items. By breaking menu items up into groups you will be helping your website visitors.

Remember that each time you remove an item from your menu or an element from your page; you are making everything else a little more visually prominent. When you remove something, you make other items more likely to be seen and clicked on. Carefully evaluate what you really need as part of your website and be willing to remove the items you don’t need to streamline and improve the experience.

The Olson Kundig website provides a great example of a website with a streamlined navigation experience.

Additionally, you will want to consider the order you use within your navigation. Just like in other areas of life, items at the beginning or end will stand out to users. User attention and retention are at their highest at the beginning or end of a list. This is the result of our basic psychology. As humans, we are wired to remember items at the beginning (primacy) or at the end (recency).

Leverage this phenomenon and put important items at the beginning or end of your menu. By putting items that are important to your customers in these areas you make it easier for visitors to use your website. If you are not sure which items are most important to your customers, take a look at your analytics and see which pages of your website get the most traffic.

4. Use a flat architecture

Great navigation begins with a well thought out information architecture (IA).As you consider the organization of your website you will want to keep the architecture as flat as possible. Allow your website visitors to reach any page within one or two clicks.

When you have fewer levels it is quicker, easier and less confusing for your customers to get to where they want to be. Limit the number of levels to help make navigating simple for your visitors.

To help organize your site, separate pages into groups and instead of nesting groups within groups within groups, look to create the flattest organization possible. Consolidate content where appropriate, perhaps even considering grouping the pages differently than you currently are doing to enable this, but make sure that your groupings are consistent with the how your customers view your products. Odd groupings that don’t make sense to users will not help you, even if they help flatten your website hierarchy.

Use visual design to help users understand the hierarchy when they are looking at your menu. Using font styles, sizes, colors, and whitespace can help visitors understand navigation levels. Clearly differentiate secondary navigation in a way that separates it from primary navigation in a harmonious way.

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Opera completely redesigns its desktop browser

Opera has recently unveiled a brand-new refresh of its user interface in the developer stream. Really part of a bigger project named Reborn—appropriately so—this new build offers a totally new look and some new features that are sure to pique the interest of many designers.

According to the blog entry on Opera’s official website, the browser’s design gets an entirely new facelift. Less platform-specific, the redesign focuses more on high-quality graphical design than anything else.

One of the first changes that observant designers will notice is with the tabs: they’ve been simplified, are lighter, and seem more elegant overall. In practical, user-experience terms, you’ll be able to find open tabs with much greater ease.

Then, there’s the improvement with the sidebar. It now features a bit of animation for extra vibrancy, and it’s also subtler and sports a more refined appearance.

Speed Dial also gets a new look; it features smooth animations and shadows that are more noticeable for a slightly more potent 3D look. There are also going to be some default wallpapers for Speed Dial.

Originally located in Speed Dial, the sidebar moves to the main browser window; this is close to the setup in Opera Neon. The sidebar’s first version provides users with one-click access to the most vital tools like: Bookmarks; History; Extensions; Personal news.

Users will be able to customize the sidebar so only the tools they find useful will show up there. This new version of the sidebar is visible for new users by default, but existing users have the choice to turn it on if they want to, by simply activating the switch, which is found in Speed Dial.

The browser’s refresh also acknowledges the pervasive influence of messaging on the web today. To that end, this redesign features the opportunity to keep Messenger.com in a side tab. A UX consideration primarily, this should address the cumbersome nature of having to constantly switch back and forth between tabs to answer messages. Additional features incorporating social services into the browser’s design are intended for the future.

Users who want to make use of Messenger within the browser have to simply click the icon found on the top of the sidebar. There are two ways to use Messenger after logging in: 1) Open it in overlay;  2) Pin it to use side-by-side with the current tab. Option 2 allows users to integrate online chat into the full browsing experience for a better UX.

This redesign was released through Opera’s developer stream. Usually, any improvements are released in the developer stream to work out any instability while in the beta state. Then, after a few months, the redesign proper migrates to the consumer version of the browser, so everyone can expect to see the full redesign in the near future.

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The best new portfolio sites, February 2017

Welcome, readers. I realize that some of you may have had romantic plans this month, but now that’s out the way, we need to look through a bunch of portfolio sites and rate them without actually assigning a numerical value to them. I assure you, your friends and loved ones will understand. (Who doesn’t love relentless ironic self-awareness?)

Once again, we have a month with no real reoccurring theme, except maybe minimalism, but that hardly counts at this point. There’s a fair variety in the sites featured this time around, so we’ll have a little something for just about everyone. Perhaps people have tired of bandwagons…

…perhaps pigs are even now evolving wings. Let’s get started…

Prolog

Prolog’s website is simple and bold It’s black and white except for the pictures, and it’s very in-your-face about it. If it’s simplicity you’re looking for—and let’s face it, that’s what we all want—then this is a design you’ll want to pay attention too.

It’s hard to pull off a site this simple.

Studio Ultra

Stuidio Ultra takes that simplicity even further by making their portfolio just a list of project names. Oh, and you get to see some images on hover. That’s a thing a lot of people are doing now, and this site does it quite well.

North2

North2 breaks the mold a bit by taking classic corporate style minimalism, and giving it an actual personality. This is made possible with some simple changes to the layout, and a heavy dose of animation.

Plus, there’s this little thing with bubbles (sort of) on the About page… just go play with it. It’s not the most intuitive way to show off your staff, but it’s fun once you figure it out. The message is simple: these are obviously professionals, but they’re not cookie cutter professionals.

Caava Design

Caava Design brings us some of that retro-flavored flat design that was everywhere for a while. By combining illustration with soft colors and that classic coffee-brand typoraphy (they do tend to work with coffee brands, so the messaging is on-point) browsing through this site is a simple, pleasant experience.

Avex

Avex’s website won’t stand out as the most creative site on this list, but it looks good, works well, and gets the point across. It’s almost a stereotype of good design. It’s also one of the few sites I’ve seen recently to take full advantage of newer techniques for vertically aligning text.

I mean, it’s there. Might as well.

Verde

Verde looks like your standard portfolio site at first. Slideshow at the top, fairly standard portfolio layout below. What shakes things up in this case, is that slideshow back at the top. Go look at it again.

Those aren’t images. Those are the lives sites, shrunk down and placed in an iFrame. You can view and navigate them right there in the slideshow. It’s a bold choice, to say the least. But hey, they really stuck with the idea of showing off their work.

Shape

Shape’s portfolio looks a bit like an eCommerce site in terms of overall style and feel. Mind you, this agency specializes in eCommerce sites, so really, what do you expect.

It’s a quality site on its own, but it’s also an excellent example of the way design styles can be translated between different kinds of sites. These people are all about sales, and you can see it right from the first glance. If that’s not good design, I don’t know what is.

Huemor

Huemor’s website states that their work is no joke. That just doesn’t seem right to me. If you’re going to pick that name, I mean… you could at least work for comedians. Their site looks great though. The graphic styles vary from page to page, tied together by consistent, and consistently beautiful, typography.

Gridonic

Gridonic takes us once again into that beautiful world of the overlapping everything. They take it a step further by utilizing 2.5D techniques… by which I mean they added some drop shadows—it disturbs me how easily I came up with a corporate-style way to say that.

Also, browsing through a site in a language I can’t read gives me a new appreciation for good typography. If it’s nice to look at even when I don’t know what they’re saying, that’s good work.

Momento

Gather ’round dear Readers, and check out Momento to see a well-done horizontal layout. On top of that, the layout handles high resolutions really well. With a solid sense of style in every other respect, the creative layout shakes things up just enough to be interesting without getting in the way.

Wokine

Wokine’s website is minimalist, animated, and has great typography. Sure, we’ve seen a lot of that these days, but this is just really pretty too. And as I just mentioned, I love a site that can stretch to high resolutions and look great doing it.

the Workshop

The article “the” in the Workshop is intentionally left with no capital letters, because that’s how they do it. The site clearly adhere’s to the Swiss school of design, from the minimalist layout, to the striking use of imagery blended with the layout, to the vertical navigation on the side, and, of course, the text at the top that says “Geneva – Switzerland”.

You’ll rarely find a better example of this sort of bold minimalism, and it’s a pleasure to scroll through.

Thaddé Méneur

Thaddé Méneur’s website is heavily influenced by the same style as the last one, but it taps in to the visceral human desire to read less text and see more pretty pictures. It’s a bit heavy on the JS frankly, but it looks great. Go, look, bask in the text that overlaps onto other things.

Will Sanders

Will Sanders’ portfolio adopts the now quite popular trend of collage-style photography portfolios. What makes this one stand out is that it doesn’t depend on the photography for all of its color. And that color isn’t solid blue! It’s… well it’s solid red, but it’s definitely eye-catching.

Mind you, I probably would not have gone with the rotated navigation like that. I have a headache as I write this, and the eye strain involved in reading text like that is a bit of a pain. Were I healthy, it wouldn’t be so much of an issue. Nothing like a bad cold to make you see UX issues differently.

Nobody

Nobody’s site depends almost entirely on the strength of its typography, and it works. There’s no imagery at all until you start hovering over project names.

As with all sites of its kind, this is a bit of a gamble, but I think it works.

Glamuzina Architechts

Forget typography-based sites for a moment, because Glamuzina Architect’s stie is practically an abstract work of art with a bit of type thrown in. Okay, that may be a small exaggeration, but these guys have truly embraced the post-modern feel. As a visual experiment, I love it.

I would love it more, except for the highly unintuitive navigation. When you’re forced to hover over every bit of text you can find and hope it might be a link, that’s less than ideal.

Yummygum

Yummygum is one of my personal favorites on this month’s list. And what’s not to love? Diagonal lines, fantastic use of white space, great type, great contrast… I’m definitely biased, but this site just happens to hit all of my personal check boxes.

Diane Martel

Diane Martel’s photography portfolio is something else entirely. It’s a mix of collage, slideshow, presentation… and the images change when you hover over the names of her projects. It’s like they decided to go for everything. You could almost call it tacky, but it doesn’t quite cross that line.

In fact, considering the subject matter of the photos, it seems kind of perfect.

Rival

If Rival’s website looks a bit like a premium Magento theme, that’s because they specialize in Magento-based eCommerce sites. Like Shape, mentioned above, the work that Rival does is clearly reflected in their own site, and it works.

Peter Komierowski

Peter Komierowski’s portfolio shows off his logo and branding work in what is, perhaps, thew best way possible: with no distractions whatsoever. See the logos, click on them to find out more, and that’s it. Minimalism in what is perhaps its purest form.



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Popular design news of the week: February 13, 2017 – February 19, 2017

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers. 

The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week.

Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news.

Meet HTML5 Bot

 

Great Alternatives to Hamburger Menus

 

How to Radically Improve your Website Performance

 

How to Spot a Cheap Logo Design

 

Curated Collection of 180 Free Web Gradients

 

Behance 2017 Design Trends Guide

 

Dataselfie – See How Much Facebook Really Knows About You

 

Create your own Unique Stress-free Ambience

 

Stop Trying to “write Code” and Focus on “translating To code”

 

How Well do You Know the Web’s Most Annoying UI?

 

Daylight

 

Scaley – Super Simple Web Image Optimization

 

Are We Going Back to Gradient Gloss with Flat 2.0?

 

Why your Form Only Needs One Name Field

 

Welding, Wanderlust and Web Design

 

Psychology in Design

 

10 Mistakes that are Ruining the Success of your Digital Projects

 

What is Progressive Enhancement and Why Should You Care?

 

New Logo and Identity for Accenture

 

40 Free Retro Fonts

 

Netflix: Abstract: The Art of Design

 

In-house Designer Vs Freelance Designer Vs Agency

 

Reactive Maps – Build Awesome Maps with Reusable UI + Data Components

 

Meet the Boy Behind the Design of HBO’s Girls Titles

 

Raise your Prices by Thinking like a Consultant, not a Freelancer

 

Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News.

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