Infographics: Great Tool for Technical Communication
by Bradley Nice, Content Manager at ClickHelp — all-in-one help authoring tool
Technical documentation is not slick fiction but a text that sometimes is not easy to ‘digest.’ Even with all the efforts to make it easy to read for a commoner, sometimes it is not sufficient — words can’t express everything. But technical writers have other means of communicating complex thoughts — visual elements. Adding such elements to the documentation is a great way to enrich the context and deliver the message more efficiently.
Visual communication helps to graphically represent information and increase the efficiency in conveying meaning.
Visual elements can enhance the usability and readability of technical documents. We encounter it in documents in various forms, including illustrations, infographics, interactive modules, animations, and other data visualization methods. One of the most commonly used visual communication methods is infographics.
What Is Infographic?
Infographics are a visual representation of the information through different data sets and images. Businesses and researchers use infographics to arrange and explain lengthy, complex information. The use of infographics also allows for the replacement of large fragments of text with visually appealing models.
Infographics are commonly used because they highlight the main ideas and promote strong associations between the facts and visual elements. These help to memorize more information, while reducing the number of time people needs to understand the information.
When creating infographics the following elements are utilized:
- bar graphs,
- line charts (for numerical data),
- list format (for a process or relationship),
While the infographic usually offers several pieces of quantifiable and statistical data, it doesn’t always carry the viewer through to a single conclusion. Infographics often broadly educate viewers on a topic so they can learn more about it or come to their own conclusion on the topic.
Infographics and Technical Communication
Infographics are a convenient way to reach audiences who are unfamiliar with or who may have negative associations with your topic. This is also can be used as an overview or a warning on something that might be too long or complex to explain within a technical document. For example, the use of infographics at a construction site can quickly remind individuals of hazards they may encounter there.
Checklist for a Great Infographic
Below is the list of things your infographic should contain if you want to make it good:
- Clear purpose
- Obvious audience
- Concise information with the key facts
- Limited text (used to explain or enhance visuals)
- Cited sources
- Sufficient white space amount for a layout
- Consistent headers, colors, font type, and size.
An infographic should only communicate essential information about a topic and should be self-contained, i.e., a reader should easily understand the element without telling a complete story.
Where To Use Infographics
Infographics are comprehensive enough to stand on their own. The purpose of an infographic is to tell a complete story, so you can share infographics nearly anywhere. They’re commonly used in:
- Case studies,
- Blog posts,
- Website content,
- Social media,
Infographics are highly efficient visual elements since they provide clear and swift communication. They assist a person in converting a lot of data into meaningful information and can help you communicate your point as effectively as possible to viewers so that your content has the impact you’re after.
Have a nice day!
Bradley Nice, Content Manager at ClickHelp.com — best online documentation tool for SaaS vendors