3 things I want in an infographic

Mar 9, 2015 | Better Blogging

I get emails every week offering me an infographic that the sender “thinks my readers will love.” I haven’t used one yet. There are three tests an infogaphic must pass before I use it on any blog where I post.

The infographic must fit the blog

This is where most solicitations fail. My Three Star Leadership blog is about leadership, so I guess it makes sense to offer me an infographic about recruiting more effectively. But you have to wonder about the person who offered me an “infographic” about the “favorite foods of great world leaders.” I’m not making this up. I almost asked for the graphic just to see how you do an infographic about favorite foods.

I used to send back a nice, polite email telling the sender why their particular offering was a poor fit and suggesting subjects that might work. Next I tried responding with a simple question: “Have you ever actually read a post on my blog?” Now I just don’t respond at all.

The infographic must be well done

Even if an infographic is right on target for my audience, it still needs to be well done. That means that the infographic should have a clear message. That, in turn, usually means, limiting the graphic to things that convey the message.

Note to submitters: A collection of graphic representations of statistics about leadership does not convey a coherent message. You don’t have to tell us everything in a single graphic. Decide on what the message is, then get rid of the “chart junk.”

If you want to convey information using graphics, invest some time in reading Edward Tufte’s books. Start with The Visual Display of Quantitative Information.

The information must be sourced

Sorry, but I’m a skeptic. I want to know the underlying research that resulted in your cute chart before I share it with my readers. Give me references and links so that I and any reader can assess the information.

Now, it’s your turn

What’s your experience with infographics? How about some pointers to good examples?