Category Archives: Infographics

Course introduction infographic

As I talked about in July, I’ve been working on building my infographic muscles. One project I’ve been involved in is an infographic to serve as a quick view version of the video and text course introduction our online students begin their month in Professional Communication and Presentation with. I used what I learned about designing an infographic to develop this deliverable. This isn’t a final version, as I still have a bit more tweaking to do, but I am stoked to share what I’ve done so far with you!

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Color, Type, and Layout

One of my goals in creating this infographic was to maintain the overall look of other course materials. The course introduction for PCP was created by Alex Rister, so I drew my inspiration from her design. Alex previously shared her presentation with readers. Check out a version of the deck below:

This meant focusing on a simple color palette of orange, black, white, and grey, and two typefaces, Blackjack and League Gothic Caps. I appreciate the simplicity and cohesion of Alex’s design for our intro slides, and it translated very easily to the infographic form.

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In addition to considering color and type, I also worked to help students interact with and process the infographic by creating flow and organization through a left to right, top to bottom hierarchy and the use of lines and color to create segments.

Iconography

Because I want this to be a document that is quickly processed, I chose to use icons from The Noun Project as well as simple shapes and diagrams to communicate the core ideas presented in the infographic. My favorite? It has to be the robot!

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What do you think of this latest project? I am definitely in the revision phase of Duarte’s presentation ecosystem, and am open to suggestions. What projects have you been working on lately? How have you been building your presentation muscles?

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All things Infographic

On July 25th, Slideshare.net launched their new infographics-friendly viewer. I was stoked to see an influx of new visualizations begin appearing right away. I’ve recently turned my focus from slide design to infographics as a teaching and learning tool. The process of learning what makes a good infographic has been inspiring for me as a designer, and I’ve enjoyed presenting and communicating ideas in a different way. So, what makes a good infographic, and why are infographics such a useful tool for educators to consider?

Why Infographics?

The many resources available on the web and in print have much to say on the subject. According to the infographic, “What Makes Great Infographics,” infographics are so powerful because we are drawn to formats that are engaging, efficient, and entertaining; because they help us digest information more efficiently, and because they help us retain information. According to edudemic’s 70 Tools and 4 Reasons to Make Your own Infographics, there are three reasons teachers might consider using an infographic as a teaching tool:

1) to grab an audience’s attention (students as we know have short attention spans).

2) to pare down ideas, theories, and content so students can not only understand the information more easily but retain information longer.

3) to challenge students to think critically about course concepts and create a non-traditional mode of composition/communication.

What makes a good infographic?

Okay, so infographics can help our students learn and retain information, but what makes for a great infographic? A good starting point is David McCandless’ What makes Good Information Design visualization. For McCandless, great information design requires four qualities. Notice that all four of these qualities must be present for information design to be successful:

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Daniel Zeevi of Dashburst adapted this visualization specifically for infographics. According to Zeevi, “the key to a good infographic design is to find interesting and reliable data, then come up with an awesome blueprint and visual story to deliver the underlying message.” (Source). Zeevi’s four qualities expand on McCandless’ general comments about design:

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During our recent summer continuing education series, I participated in a poster session on the subject of infographics and how teachers can use them to present information to their students in a way that taps into both text-based and image-based modes of communication. Teachers can use infographics to communicate course concepts, record class notes, and enrich the online classroom experience. I shared this advice with attendees when designing their own visualizations: 1. Consider dimensions; 2. Choose a clear, strong color palette; 3. Display data for impact; and 4. Keep visuals simple.

Consider Dimensions

While the sky pretty much is the limit when it comes to sizing an infographic, experts provide a set of standard guidelines that can help you create an infographic that is easy to scroll through for the audience.

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Choose a clear, strong color palette

One aspect of infographic design that surprised me was choosing a strong background color. Most infographics use lighter backgrounds with subtle textures. This makes the infographic easier to process quickly.

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Display Data for Impact

Charts, graphs, and data display are integral to a strong infographic. After all, one primary purpose of an infographic is the communication and explanation of complex, dense information.

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Keep Visuals Simple

While some infographic designers are experts at programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, the average educator (me, for instance) has less knowledge of these programs. So, how do you create something that is still dynamic and well designed? Check out the resources below!

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My Current Infographic Projects

Educational Infographics

In Professional Communication and Presentation, I use the “Choosing an Ignite” infographic to help students brainstorm and choose a strong Ignite topic.

One of the most difficult tasks for my students is the development of a strong persuasive presentation topic. I combined an article from Six Minutes, Nancy Duarte’s discussion of convergent and divergent thinking, and my 4-year experience with the Ignite-style presentation to develop this “how to” for students.

Currently, I’m also working on a “great speeches” series of infographic that provides students with historical background on a speech, the context in which the speech was delivered, and lessons they can draw from an analysis of the speech. I am beginning with Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream.” Finally, I’ve been working on a Welcome to Professional Communication and Presentation infographic that provides students with an at-a-glance overview of the course. As Alex Rister and I used her “look” for the course introduction, I used her colors and typefaces for the infographic. Below is a “preview”.

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Professional Persona Infographic

As part of the re-branding/rebooting of my visual resume and teaching portfolio, I created this infographic of my teaching philosophy, approach to course development and instruction, and leadership style. I am using the same color scheme and type for the slide version of my new Superteacher Visual Resume.

 

Want to learn more? Check out this list of resources!

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My Teaching Philosophy: an Infographic

In preparation for our focus for Week 2, part 1 of PCP, I’ve cooked up an infographic add-on to my teaching portfolio. I used the colors I’d created for our Liberal Studies Round Table sessions and after much tweaking, I found a way to communicate my teaching philosophy/brand mantra, instructional design approach, teaching style, and leadership approach. I hope to show this as an alternative to what students can create using Keynote, and the basic building blocks of a strong deck or visualization: color, type, shape, and image/iconography.

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Have you been working on your professional persona? What did you choose as your medium?

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Data Display of the Day: Wealth On a Plane

I ran across this visualization from visual.ly, and it upset, enlightened, and intrigued me.

It truly speaks to the power of using relatable imagery paired with strong design, clear organization, and relevant statistics. It’s also an awesome example of progressive disclosure. I am still working on my unemployment slides for the Tweak your Resume debut, and I may have to abandon them for now, as I am far behind on my launch date for this deck and the stat is really being used for a small idea in a bigger presentation. I’ve now included some progressive disclosure; I am hoping it will move me in the right direction!
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Enjoy today’s Data Display!

 

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Data Display of the Day: Studying Abroad

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As a subscriber to Daily Infographic, I receive a daily dose of data visualization awesomeness in my in box. Today’s share comes from the newest contributor to Daily Infographic, Lindsey Lawrence. Lindsey shares with readers a very useful visualization for young folks considering studying (or teaching) overseas created by Course Hero, a site devoted to providing college students with useful supplements to their formal instruction. My 18-year-old sister is currently in the process of choosing where she will complete her undergraduate study. Although studying abroad hasn’t come up as an option yet, it’s an opportunity I wish I’d taken advantage of as a student (hint, hint, Karen Kacir…just a semester!).

(Original Source)

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Professional Communication and Presentation Reboot: Infographic as a Teaching Tool

Alex Rister and I have been busy creating videos, tweaking slides, revamping/rewriting/overhauling assignment sheets, and generally obsessing about all things presentation education for the past few weeks in anticipation of our upcoming online course reboot. One of our challenges has been to create a streamlined educational experience that appeals to all learners. We also have to restructure the four week class to focus entirely on one major presentation, the Ignite speech. In an attempt to do this, I’ve chosen to create an infographic tipsheet on choosing a strong presentation topic.  This is a draft/work in progress, and I’d love the critical feedback. What do you think? Is this a welcome and useful break from text-based instruction? Is it too busy to process? Is it learner-centered?

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Data Display of the Day: Kitchen Cheat Sheet

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At the risk of saturating readers/viewers with Tweak Your Slides overload, I am sharing with you another awesome sampling of design from the web. This link comes by way of former superstudent and current superperson Sapan Shah. Check out this incredibly useful and also beautiful visualization from Everest Home Improvements.

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Data Display of the Day: Two views on Online Privacy

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All infographics by GDS Infographics

After seeing this beautiful video by Michael Rigley’s Network via an Ethos 3 Motion Design analysis, I was both fascinated and terrified.

Network from Michael Rigley on Vimeo.

Rigley’s approach to explaining data networks, a topic that most of us (including me) would find much too abstract and puzzling if presented in report-form, is beautifully illustrated and animated–it’s also understandable and impacting. Rigley doesn’t just lay out a series of facts, he interweaves them with a visual representation. It’s the approach to presenting this information that makes it that much more impacting. The information comes to life in a way the audience can understand; one cannot ignore the ramifications of our networked world. I found myself surprised and shocked at what I didn’t know about my digital footprint, and of course wanted to know more.

I ran across this infographic created by Abine, an online privacy company,  from Daily Infographic, and it only confirms what Rigley explains in Network.

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Through our activities, our private information and habits, from shopping and liking someone’s status to making travel plans, are being mined and sold to advertising and tracking companies. This may seem innocuous when a site raises a price because an individual looks up a certain item, but when it can cost a person his or her job of affects his or her credit, the need to stand up for privacy becomes greater. Today’s examples amplify their important messages through design, so what design lessons can we draw from today’s examples?

Lessons from Today’s Examples

  1. Use simple shapes and icons to convey complex ideas.
  2. Organize information so it sequentially builds towards a solution.
  3. Infographics in print do not necessarily follow the glance media rule; they are meant to be absorbed over time.
  4. Video motion display should have a cohesive theme that helps further clarify the complex concept being animated.

Consider these four lessons, and remember, there is always room to…

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Tweak Your Teach: Women as Academic Authors

One of the key frameworks of any professional academic career is published research. One reason I did not pursue a PhD in Literature is because I found that pure research paled in comparison to actual teaching. However, one of my goals for 2013 is to finally return to school to pursue my Ed.D in educational leadership or instructional design. Another goal involves submitting a paper on the community of inquiry  and the community college model to an educational conference. So, research must and will be done! I ran across this interactive infographic from the Chronicle of Higher Education while conducting preliminary research on schools and ideological approaches to the studies of educational leadership and instructional design:

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The infographic provides a historical analysis of the place women have had in academic research in specific fields (I found it interesting that most humanities are left out of this list) including education. Here are a few interesting numbers:

  • From 1991-2010, women accounted for 46% of articles published in the field of education, with the two biggest areas being student learning and teacher development.
  • From 1665-1970 women contributed only 3.9% of articles on mathematics, 5.4% from 1971-1991, and from 1991-2010, that percentage increased to 10.7%.
  • From 1665-2010, women published more articles in pollution and occupational health than all of political science (domestic and international) combined.

It is interesting to see which disciplines have grown and which still have some room for growth. Does academic authorship reflect other demographic imbalances in academia and professional work? What do you think?

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Infographic Candy: David McCandless’s Rhetological Fallacies

Logical fallacies are an element of Professional Communication and Presentation that have fallen a bit by the wayside–with only one month of class and a semester’s worth of material to cover, it’s difficult to talk about everything without just lecturing at students for 4-8 hour periods. Any true superteacher knows this doesn’t work. That’s why I am glad for beautiful visualizations by the master, David McCandless of Information is Beautiful. Check out his infographic on all things logical fallacies, “Rhetological Fallacies” below and at his site, Information Is Beautiful.

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