They say a picture can paint a thousand words, or something to that effect anyway, I wasn’t really listening, but what of an infographic with its picture, words and even graphs?
I’m a big fan of the infographic but then again I have an attention span that can barely cope with the slow bits in an action film, so I’m not really a good person to judge what is good in this respect.
Or am I? You see what an infographic, or at least a well designed one can achieve is the ability to tell you the basics of a story without lots of boring test your eyes would just gloss over.
When a BBC News online journalist writes a story they generally work on telling the whole story, or at least the most important aspect of a story, within four paragraphs.
This is about as much as most people will read of a story unless they are REALLY interested.
As well as writing in a form that is easier to read (short one point paragraphs with lots of furniture to break up text), the BBC has been embracing the InfoGFX lately.
In fact they have been going well beyond the standard pretty picture graphic, they have been embracing fully featured interactive infoGFX.
Some of the more simple ones are like the (fig 1.b) graph I always went to in the school text book before reading the text.
The BBC pulled together a number of statistics surrounding the shuttle launch including the fact that is has 2.5 million moving parts, 355 astronauts have gone into space on one since 1981 and it has been on 135 missions.
The facts are then displayed in orange and grey alongside little picture of cogs, astronauts and the planet itself.
In a slightly different design the BBC took a picture of a $100 canadian bank note and then put arrows across it with text labels showing exactly what all the security aspects of the notes were.
To others that show the material consumption per head of population in the UK with graphics of men, women and children and a pattern over that graphic to reflect the material type.
The BBC also creates clickable graphics, a good example of this is a satellite image of the Occupy London camp outside St Pauls that shows items and areas around the site.
You can click on pictures or text objects placed over the satellite image.
Others expand even more on the interactive element like this one showing which countries owes what to whom in the Eurozone.
There are many others including the brilliant ‘your birth number’ story where you entered your date, place and time of birth and in return you are given the number you were in the world.
I’ve got a large folder full of examples and will post more in the future.