Episode #3 of the Tiny Graphics Advent Calendar, published by Marius Popescu for De Amicis.
What happens if you take a nice visual infographic you created 5 years ago and look at it today?
Is it still visually appealing? Probably yes.
Accurate? Probably not.
Is it easy to update it to show the new numbers? Of course.
Let’s take an example.
However, instead of just updating the numbers, wouldn’t it become a much better graphic if you would show the evolution of these numbers over the last 5, 10 or 25 years? Definitely yes.
How to transform an infographic into a data visualization
Take any visual infographic showing floating numbers about your business and you have a snapshot of your business at a specific moment in time.
Instead of using a snapshot, show the evolution over a period of time. The evolution can show how many customers you serve, how many or languages you provide, or actual usage numbers showing the benefits of your solution.
This evolution tells your story, so you can greatly improve it by telling different stories on the same timeline.
Show different stories on the same timeline to add contrast and drama
The same timeline tells your story but can tell a different story so that your readers can compare the two. The alternate story can be focused on the problem, on the solution, or on your target customers.
1) Problem-focused comparison
The last 5 years you have incrementally developed your product, adding more features and more versions to provide more value to your customers. What happened with the problem space in the meantime?
- If the problem stayed the same you can show if there are more businesses affected by it
- If the problem has worsened year after year, show how the impact grew over time
- If some specific events happened which made the problem more acute, show them in parallel of your timeline
2) Solution-focused comparisons
- What happened with customers using a different solution? Pick the most used solution or the one which serves them the least.
- What happened with customers using no solution? How are they affected year after year?
- How different types of solutions serve your target customers? Show which customers are best served by your solution and why.
3) Customer-type focused comparisons
- Show 2-3 types of customers you serve over time, on top of your main target customers
- Show how different types of customers have the same problem but on different time scales
- Show why different types of customers should use your solution
Another difference between the two graphics are the tools you’ll need:
– for the first one visual creation tools (Balsamiq, Canva, Visme)
– for the chronological graphics professional data-oriented tools such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets
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