Now that everyone loves them, early adopters and forward thinkers will want to know, “What is next for the infographic?” Is the Infographic still soaring or marked for doom?
While the novelty of infographics has worn off, their value has not declined at all. It’s just going through a maturation phase.
Just as the popularity of say, a new musical genre does not harm its validity, the pervasiveness of infographics does not limit the opportunity to use the medium to create something of true quality and utility.
The data explosion and growing need to display complex concepts simply guarantee that these opportunities for graphic visualizations will be plentiful in the future.
The Current State of Infographics
Infographics have been utilized for a long time for a wide range of purposes. Thanks to the internet, a new face has been making appearances. Static graphics are the most common due to the fact that they are the easiest to create and host. This also affects the success of distribution, as an image file that is simple to download, upload, and re-post is more appealing to media outlets and blogs looking for fresh and interesting content to share on the web.
The Adoption of Interactive Infographics
Flash-based interactive infographics are becoming more common in editorial content. These allow designers and developers to visualize multiple layers of data in a single interface, while providing a dynamic and engaging user experience.
The downside in creating Flash interactives is the lack of support for the iPhone and iPad. While this is a serious limitation, the ease of development can often outweigh this consideration, and still yield a positive effect overall.
The Rise of Motion Graphics
Utilizing motion and animation in infographics is another trend that is spreading. These motion graphics use a combination of illustration, data visualization, and kinetic text to inform the viewer about a subject. While this provides a new and different viewer experience, this medium is valuable in walking the viewer through an explanation or step-by-step instructions. These can also be useful in more brand-centric messaging, by bringing the information to life for the target audience.
Future Directions for Infographics
Diverse applications are opening up the realm of what is possible and valuable through innovation. This is also fueling the maturation of this visually exciting communication strategy.
The phenomenal growth of both iPad and iPhone have fueled the desire for the development of interactivity in graphics viewable on these devices. Developers are utilizing HTML and HTML5 to meet the need, creating rich interactive visuals that are viewable on these platforms.
Real-time Data Visualization
Another area on the verge of a huge growth curve is the use of data visualization in real-time, providing updated visual representations of real-time events. The invasive nature of Twitter and the increased tracking capabilities of social analytics offer many opportunities for this application.
Media outlets will want to see what topics are trending, and what people are saying on particular topics in real-time. Brands will be monitoring, tracking, and measuring their social presence and brand reaction, and will want the most current information available, viewable in a well-designed and easy-to-understand interface.
Recently, there has been significant crossover between web development and information design. An early example of how typically stale financial information could become dynamic and encourage user interaction was provided by Mint.com – a website that allowed users to manage their finances online.
The innovators in this field have learned that clear information display with intuitive interactivity is a natural way to engage users within a site. This brings the core of the site’s content to the forefront and allows users to enjoy a hands-on relationship.
Obviously dependent on a site’s purpose and subject matter, infographics as a user interface provides a rich experience that will be widespread in the future.