The Role of Infographics in Technical Writing


What are infographics? It’s a visual way of information presentation that uses multiple design elements in order to present any content. Even the most complex messages are taken as plain and simple, their comprehension is enhanced and their content is extended in a way that even a person who lacks needed education gets a clear view.

Through the illustration of timelines and complex data, cheat sheets and trends, infographics make complex processes much easier for the naked eye. All these features made infographic useful for technical writers, who learned to transform raw and non-interesting material into something bright and extraordinary. So, what is the role of infographics in technical writing these days?

More than another Useful Tool

When infographics are really effective they talk better than words. Experienced technical writers agree to the idea that it tells stories and translates the meaning of complicated information. Authors have managed to use it in different ways: as a map, flow chart, diagram, and assembly guide.

  • Being a map it provides the so-called spiritual connection between items.
  • Like a flow chart, it connects roads between diverse concepts.
  • When it is a diagram, it depicts the relationship between parts.
  • If it is an assembly guide, it explains how all the parts fit into one.

When effectively used in technical documents, it manages to combine pretty large parts of a single text with visual graphics that are not just appealing to the eye, but also explain complex information and help a reader pull all concepts together.

Advantages and Some Inconveniences

We all are visually wired. The researches prove that if a technician wants to make the audience solve the problem or memorize the solution, he has to refuse from providing lengthily textual context as it is never effective and turn to multimedia summaries that combine text with visual effects.

More visual elements and less text is a much more effective combination because it leads to the synthesis of information. What do infographics present? They work with complex info, data, and concepts. Those, who follow directions with texts and illustrations, usually do 323 % better than those who read raw texts. It means that infographics represent a comparatively bigger advantage over textual content.

Does it mean that text will soon be excluded? Words are still needed as far not all viewers are 100 % comfortable with graphic presentations only. Some feel more comfortable with words and pictures, though the latter ones are more engaging. It is essential to stay pragmatic when the implementation of infographics is discussed. Sometimes technical writing with much infographics presents inconveniences. To avoid this you need to follow firm aptitudes in graphic visualization and transmit the synthesized data in a clear way.

Unfortunately, the lack of mastery results in wrong design choices and loss of information that leads to the publication of incoherent and incomplete information.

Making Infographics Effective

The use of the visual vocabulary in a way to make the viewer’s understand the technical content is what experts call making infographics effective. Technical writers learn the vocabulary like computer icons or road signs along with their meaning because the greater part is not intuitively obvious. Some images have a very powerful association while others don’t and you need to learn their history to know what they really represent.

To enhance the effectiveness of the learned and used signs you need to consider the following tips borrowed from highly skilled academic writers at CustomWritings (leading writing company):

  1. Hover text provision. It is the text that appears when a reader holds the cursor above it.
  2. Alt tags inclusion. It must be displayed in cases when the image can’t be shown by a screen reader for visually impaired.
  3. Add links. They are to be added to a spoken narration for image description. The narrator’s voice must be warm, motivational, reassuring, excited or scared depending on the essence of the message delivered.
  4. Define the audience. Consider its requirements, qualification, and expertise level.
  5. Include visual vocabulary that will be instantly recognized and understood.
  6. Choose the correct topic type: concept, task or reference. The first one refers to definitions and rules, the second type deals with the procedure and multiple steps, while the third one gathers reference material. You can base your infographics on one of the three types to convey the data in a more convenient way.
  7. Use the right colors. They are referred to as key elements of any visual media, including infographics, and draw attention when it is needed. For instance, viewers are more sensitive to chromatic variations rather than light changes. So focus on contrasts and not light. The latest research showed that the use of purple increases response rates in mail surveys. Some colors can enhance memory and increase the long-term one. Color infographics are comparatively more effective than putting data in black-and-white.

Today infographics are commonly compared with aesthetic works of art: they communicate and show the true essence of any information that is commonly treated as abstract or complex. The beauty of infographics is in the ability to teach technical essence.

However, infographics in technical writing should not be mixed with the message: a visualization is only a tool but not the essence. It is important to deliver graphics gradually in a way to prevent them from removing core information. Combining words and visualization may increase comprehension, yet it won’t make the essence of the writing assignment better.

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