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Mobile has become a wildly thriving source of traffic over the past few years, and naturally, everyone is trying to optimize everything from websites to blog content for mobile devices and users. This philosophy should also apply to infographics. Unfortunately, there are a few variables to the art form that make these large, informational images frustrating to read on anything smaller than a laptop screen.
Infographics require a lot of planning and effort, and you should get many converted leads, shares, sales, and more out of each one your business produces. Make the following guidelines part of your infographic-creation checklist, and these complex and detailed content pieces are sure to perform well.
No matter what else you try, your infographics are unlikely to succeed with the mobile crowd unless they display properly on every device, regardless of settings and other factors. This is called responsive design, and it mainly applies to infographics embedded into a page on your website. Image infographics shared on social media have a better chance of automatically being resized properly, thanks to the expert responsive design included on those platforms, but you must ensure that wherever you host the original image, visitors will have the same convenient experience.
Responsive design means many things, including not having to scroll and zoom out constantly, not having the rest of your website get in the way of reading your infographic, quicker loading times, and much more. It even allows Google’s search-engine bots to crawl through the infographic to help draw in more organic visitors.
Many mobile users don’t read an entire infographic from beginning to end. Instead, they’ll glance at the main points of the piece. From there, they’ll read more and possibly end up sharing it on social media, but only if their initial interest was met with something eye-catching. On smaller screens, this can be more challenging because everything looks smaller than it does in front of a large monitor.
Design your infographics so that they have not only good readability on the average smartphone screen but also a striking appearance in thumbnail form on such devices. This will require bigger fonts for your title, subtitle, main points, and so on; and you should try to take the same approach with the graphic elements, increasing the size of data visualizations and other critical parts of the piece.
Image via Flickr by freeimage4life
Mobile users are perfectly comfortable with scrolling down a long, vertical piece of content since that’s what the majority of responsive content becomes on smartphone screens. There’s something crisp and pleasant about going through an infographic with the same gesture and not having to roam around an image wider than the actual screen, pinching and zooming like you’re trying to read a map. Naturally, not all ideas will be presentable in one vertical, scrolling length of content, but it pays off to organize infographics vertically whenever possible.
It may help to approach your future infographic ideation with vertical scrolling in mind. Think about ideas that naturally lend themselves to such a format, like stories, timelines, and the logical sequence of how something works. Just remember that this is a general suggestion for your upcoming pieces, and you shouldn’t force infographics that need to be in a wider style into a purely vertical one. For those, our next suggestion should prove effective.
Creating pieces that require both a wider distribution of content and the viewer to move their eyes left and right will turn off some smartphone and tablet users. However, one of the best things you can do is divvy up this larger piece and post it in chunks, each with a little bit of text, graphics, and data visualizations that stand out nicely on their own while inviting the reader to check out more of these chunks.
For example, let’s say you have an infographic about famous scientists and the connections between them with a complex map of lines showing who influenced whom. This could be broken up into many screen-width pieces, one for each scientist. They could be organized like cards, showing the image of the person, his or her achievements and the dates they occurred, and a section with the headshots and names of scientists who influenced them and were influenced by them. Host them all on a social media page and people will be jumping from one to the next.
The best part of dividing content in this way is that you can get far more social media shares and engagements than you would with a single piece. Not to mention, each individual piece often creates a stronger first impression than the thumbnail of a much larger, collective work.
Before we finish up, here are a few final pieces of advice to improve your mobile users’ experiences:
If you want to make your infographics mobile friendly, you’re on the right track to succeeding in this form of content marketing. What matters most is making great content that people find useful, but it’ll be more difficult for people to give it a chance unless you design it with their devices and settings in mind. Give these guidelines a shot, and soon enough, they’ll be a natural part of your future content marketing plans.