Infographics: An Overview of Online Data Visualization Platforms

Infographics are a presentation technique that combines both text and visuals to represent ideas and concepts in a highly visual way, using text, illustrations, charts, bars, maps, or diagrams (Almunive & Alshammari, 2018). With their colorful and eye-catching displays and easy social media dissemination, web-based infographics are prominent marketing tools. But do they have an educational value?

Infographics can be a useful tool to display important information to students in a creative way. They may help grab students attention based on color and design. Infographics can be used to point students to the most important information, and can be an effective presentation format to support memorization of key facts. Since visualizing, categorizing, and describing relationships among concepts are vital to the learning process, Petty, Sykes & Dugger (2017) see infographics as a promising approach for note taking.

While data visualization and infographics can make complex ideas digestible for students, the skillful presentation of data has become yet another expectation scientists and researchers need to meet (Johnson, et al., 2015). This article provides an overview of seven different visualization platforms that allow for the creation of effective data communication products.

  • Picktochart offers a variety of templates for infographics, including CV, timeline, and business templates. Other tools include fully customizable interactive charts and maps, a large library of icons and images, as well as sharing and embed options.
  • Easel.ly offers hundreds of professionally designed infographic templates that easily customized with their library of icons, charts, illustrations and images. Easel.ly also allows you to download your infographic in every major format.
  • Venngage offers over 100 infographic templates that can be easily customized and edited. It also allows you to import data directly from spreadsheets into several chart styles.
  • Visme offers the option to choose from hundreds of professionally designed infographic templates, as well as the opportunity to create your own infographic by mixing and matching pre-designed content blocks from a library. Visme also offers over 20 charts, and the ability to create charts through inputting data or importing from excel. Visme also provides the opportunity to choose from over 500,000 photos, as well as from a library of icons and graphics with editable colors
  • Tableau (public) offers a downloadable app available for Windows and Mac to use to create infographics. Tableau (public) is a free platform for the display of interactive data visualizations. It also provides an extensive library of data visualizations that have been created by other users.
  • Canva offers infographic templates, images, icons and illustrations, as well as customizable charts. Canva also providesbranding options and the ability to edit collaboratively.

References:

Almunive, W. & Alshammari, A. (2018). Toward A Framework for Designing and Developing Educational Infographics. In E. Langran & J. Borup (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 288-292). Washington, D.C., United States: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A. (2015). NMC Horizon Report: 2015 Higher Education Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Petty, L., Sykes, K. & Dugger, L. (2017). Use of Infographics to Support Note Taking. In P. Resta & S. Smith (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 1752-1756). Austin, TX, United States: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).

About the Authors

Dr. Stefanie Panke is an instructional analyst at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She holds a PhD in applied linguistics for a thesis on the design and implementation of web-based educational resources. One of her passions is design thinking – watch her play with LEGOs to conceptualize website navigation menus. As an edtech research specialist she keeps up-to-date of new trends and tools in her role as social media coordinator for the international education conference AACE.

Allie Alayan has an undergraduate degree in psychology from Indiana Wesleyan University and a masters in clinical psychology from Wheaton College. She is currently a Senior Researcher for the Center for Learning and Innovation at Indiana Wesleyan University. Allie has conducted research surrounding video learning and self-explanation. 

 

 

 

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