In 2013 infographics were all the rage. My favourite ones were the ones published by the New York Times, Financial Times, and Le Monde. As these publications focus on news and historical events, time is always at the heart of their visualizations.
That’s rarely the case for business (info)graphics. And that’s a pity!
Your timeline tells your story, and that’s interesting for your customers
The same year we needed to create new roll-ups for the medical conferences where the company products were presented, so I started playing with the idea of building one as an infographic. I wanted a simple design (as I’m not a designer), an outline showing the big picture, and tiny graphics to explain the problems addressed by our solutions.
Connect your product’s history with events and important milestones in your specific domain
The next step was to gather actual historical data for medical publications, statistical references, national charts catalogues, product versions etc.
Quite soon the time appeared as a good perspective, as medical publications covered more than 70 years, while our solutions “only” existed for about 20 years.
Time is the single most important thread linking the historical data to your product’s value evolution
There are few problems unchanged year after year (except when there is no available solution yet). Timelines help you show this to your readers and make them aware of this evolution.
Likewise, the solutions space is changing all the time too. New solutions appear—some evolve, some stop following. Show your readers where your solution is placed in your domain by using the time scale.
This last year was particularly rich in visualizations, see FT, Worldometer, and Le Monde. Interactivity took more importance than the visual side in helping the reader see how the indicators changed weekly and monthly.