I recently tried making an infographic using Piktochart. I wanted to have a go at creating an infographic as they seem quite popular and one of my colleagues is very much into it and has recommended it. I tend to present my information quite boring and as blocks of texts and I wanted to try something more imaginative.
When I decided to create my infographic, I did not know what I was going to do – I was merely going to play around with the programme online and see how it works, but as I did it, I realise I needed some content. As I am currently teaching research methods, I thought I would do an infographic on research methods.
There were some things I realised as I reflected on my experience and here are some lessons I learnt as I was making it.
Have a story
This may seem obvious but before you start to think about what story you would like to tell your audience. In other words, have a purpose for your infographic. When I started I got to the point of “Types of research methods” and then I did not know what to say after that as I had at the time as far as I was concerned provided all the information on research methods. I did not know how to end the infographic!
I think I have learnt that you need to figure out how you should end the infographic and that is part of the story. I decided the purpose of the infographic after that point was to help users to select a research method depending on their research purpose.
Choice of template
There is a huge range of templates you can choose from in Piktochart. When I chose the Piktochart, I chose one that did not seem too intimidating – a basic template.
When I started writing the section on “Types of Research Methods”, I had it has a long list of plain text. However, I noted that the template had pictures in a white circle and that is when I transformed that section into pictures instead. After discovering, the use of the white circle and picture, I transformed my whole infographic into using this.
I think it is crucial to realise that your template can inform your design and your thoughts of presentation. If I had not chosen this template, who knows how I would have presented this section, it might have still been a block of text and perhaps the whole infographic would be less crowded with pictures in white circles!
Less is more
I have a tendency of wanting to write. In almost every section of my created infographic, I had originally a block of text. It does not look good as a block of text. You need to really think about how you can present text as pictures. For example, my section on “Which method to use”, I had originally written words for each method. I had, for example:
Observations: used to directly observe a person with a small number of participants
Interviews: used for getting deep insights with a small number of participants
I had to carefully think about what each line represented and see how I can represent this pictorially. It was clear that for me, I was trying to make two points for each method: identify the number of participants and differentiate the purpose of each method. Therefore, I decided that this section would contain these two ideas with some pictures to represent these thoughts. The search facility for icons in Piktochart was really good in helping me to get these pictures, sometimes I had to think outside the box for particular icons. For example, with documents, I wanted something that was historical but Piktochart had mainly Egyptian symbols and hence I had to go back to using a document. In the case of observations, when I originally searched “observe”, an “eye” came up instead but I did not think that really demonstrated a direct observation and a microscope popped into my head as a much better representation.
The search facility for icons in Piktochart was really good in helping me to get these pictures, sometimes I had to think outside the box for particular icons. For example, with documents, I wanted something that was historical but Piktochart had mainly Egyptian symbols and hence I had to go back to using a document. In the case of observations, when I originally searched “observe”, an “eye” came up instead but I did not think that really demonstrated a direct observation and a microscope popped into my head as a much better representation.
No need to be artistic – just ensure readability
I am the least artistic person as I know and hence perhaps why I have avoided trying to make a Piktochart before. I am usually quite minimalist in my approach to art (read stick figures!). With the templates, icons and graphics available in Piktochart which are fairly easy to use, I felt like I was being very creative and artistic at the same time. The great part of Piktochart is being able to easily change the colour of the monochrome art and being able to easily align all elements. I usually have a terrible sense of whether objects are aligned but with the Piktochart alignment feature, this was very easy.
However, you need to think about readability. My original infographic felt quite crowded (yes, even more crowded than this one) – and I had to space out my sections so there was more green space between the sections. I have found that more space between the sections, words and pictures, really improves the looks of the infographic and its readability.