Infographics have become an extremely powerful way for government agencies to quickly and efficiently synthesize complex data for citizens. In terms of data, you typically have people in two camps - the folks who want to see the raw data file and manipulate data accordingly and then the people who want to find information quickly and easily. I always love hearing stories about technologically adept citizens who turn the raw data into really cool apps/visualizations to help citizens who want the quick and dirty on government data.
Regardless of how you like to view data, infographics are a great way for the public sector to quickly present information to key stakeholders. Here are my top 5 traits of a great inforgraphic:
1) Easy to Consume
This is really a challenge with data, especially with complex government data. The data presented is so complex and often interrelated, so agencies really need to scope out what they are trying to present visually. The goal is to present something that a citizen can quickly consume on a topic that they are interested in.
2) Visually Appealing
This is an obvious one, but no one wants to look at an infographic that looks boring. The hope is that through the infographic, you will get people to consider an issue in a new light, so the aesthetics are just as important as the content. There always seems to be a tension between content and design, but with infographics, you need to bring your A game for both content and design.
An infographic should be something that is currently happening and issues people care about. While deciding on what kind of infographic to make, agencies need to pick an issue that people truly care about and is a current concern for citizens.
4) Influence and Educate
I always like seeing infographics that challenge my views or provide me with a new perspective on an issue. I always like when they get me thinking about an issue, and provide enough context to stand alone
5) Reputable Data
I always am interested to vet data and see the source, it's way to easy to push an agenda with data. You never know where the data came from, so it's best to just do a quick check.
I came across two great infographics online yesterday from the Washington State Budget and Policy Center, they did a great job putting together the infographics, so I wanted to share them here on GovLoop. I think they certainly fit into all the categories I listed above.
The first infographic is called: Tax Day Infographic: Our Shared Investments, "The resources collected through our revenue system allow Washington to make significant public investments that benefit all of us. Check out our graph below for information on these investments in our state."
The second infographic is called, Our Broken Revenue System: "To continue to make the investments in public health, education, communities and public safety that all Washington residents care about, we need a revenue system that works. See the graphic below to learn more about our broken revenue system."
I thought the Washington State Budget and Policy Center did a great job with these two infographics. Present tax data visually is not an easy task. I'd love to hear your thoughts and what you think makes a great infographic. Infographics and visual representation is definitely a trend within government, and one that more and more agencies are picking up on. It's a fun trend to watch, and would love any examples of infographics you have worked on or created within your agency.
What do you think? What do you think makes a great infographic?