Why Should I be Making Interactive Infographics?


Last year, Matt Cutts said that Google would probably start devaluing infographics, since they’re often made as link bait and aren’t fact checked as well as standard text articles. As a result, I’ve never thought of infographics as particularly successful internet marketing.

And then I found Truckpocalypse!

If someone had given me a standard infographic explaining how trucks affect our livelihood, I probably would have found the mixture of text and graphics overwhelming. If I’d read an article with the same information, I would have skimmed the bullet points and thought it was overly simplistic and somewhat biased (this was created by truckerclassifieds.com, after all). But the deliberate pacing of a rolling infographic made me really read each point. Simultaneously, the matching pictures helped to reinforce the points in my memory.

While there has been an increase in the development of interactive infographics/microsites, standard infographics still remain the most popular. Now that many internet marketers work with in-house designers it’s fairly easy to bang out a set of illustrations to reinforce a topic. Yet, most of these infographics still make little impact online. As marketers struggle to continually create engaging content, its essential that pieces are both vastly informative and intriguing, and interactivity is a great way to do this.

Pros of Interactive Infographics

1.   More Engaging

“Interactive” means that the visitor has to do something in response to the infographic. Take SimpliSafe’s interactive security quiz as an example. By making visitors read a question, think of their answer, and then get a response that’s tailored to them, the facts come across much more personal (and, you stop people from skimming).

2.   Can’t be Stolen

If someone wants to steal a text article, a scraper can crawl your site, copy the text, and duplicate it on a different site. If someone wants to steal an infographic, he or she can download the image and put it on his/her own site. But if someone wants to steal an interactive infographic, they have to steal an entire page full of images and probably some JavaScript. If they do try, they’ll probably end up using at least one image that’s still hosted on your domain or CDN, in which case you can tweak the image title on your own site and upload a new, disruptive picture with the old file name.

3.   Can be Read by Search Engines

Most of the infographics that I’ve found can’t be easily read by search engines. Since standard infographics behave like pictures, search engines can only access the file name, alt text, and the surrounding text. But since interactive infographics are essentially webpages, their text can be coded in HTML, allowing search engines full access to all of their content.

Cons of Interactive Infographics

1.   It’s New

Interactive infographics are impressive, and you’re probably thinking that the design would take way too long or cost way too much. In reality, developing interactive infographics isn’t that much more difficult than creating static infographics. It just depends upon the skill sets and experience of your creative team. Since interactivity opens the door to a host of new techniques, there will be a learning curve in finding what actually works well for your project.

2.   It Takes Development Resources

Interactive infographics use web-programming languages, like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to execute their designs. That’s great for search engine optimization but it means that you’ll need someone who can code in order to implement the design. Since most graphic designers focus primarily on print/branding projects, you’ll need to track down a seasoned front-end developer to help you build out your vision. While this may sound like a hassle, as the general trend of online marketing continues to adopt interactivity, it’ll be important to have a good dev around anyway. So, you might as well adopt soon.

Bottom Line: Interactive Infographics Vs Standard Infographics

The whole idea behind infographics is that they are a more exciting (re: more likely to be shared) way to communicate information. Interactive infographics are exciting already because they’re new, but even as they become the norm, their flexibility will allow designers to share information in continually creative ways.