A picture, worth a thousand words?

7 Nov

You know what always sound like an awesome idea?  Infographics.  I love them.

Infographics tend to take a current trend and break it down into an easily-digestible, visual bite.  Or it might cover a topic.  Either way, they’re fun to look at and “reader” engagement is the biggest step you can take as far as publicizing new services and performing outreach.  They don’t even have to be 100% hard fact based…what if you’re publicizing a library event?  You can make an infographic about where it measures up on fun factor, from “washing your hair”, to “winning the lottery”.

But are they always a good thing?  I can think of times when they’re not appropriate; maybe you’ve seen one that was made on a topic that didn’t make sense (rocket science, for a hyperbolic example), or one that was too overdone or too detailed.  Knowing your audience is key, too.  If the people to whom you’re conveying information are unlikely to read posters, check email, look at flyers, or whatever your distribution of the infographic is, you can’t expect it to succeed.

One of the things I struggle with is putting expectations on things like this, where you can invest a lot of time, and then being frustrated when patrons don’t consume the information that’s already out there.  I don’t mind answering reference questions, but I do mind answering the same question from the same person 6 days in a row.  At some point, I wonder why you bother to ask, since you’re not interested in the answer.  Infographics are like that – people have to really want the information in order to be motivated to read it.

What has your experience been with infographics?  Do you use them?  How?

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