Creating Health Infographics



May 17, 2018 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

Creating health infographics

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With so much content spread across the internet, the main challenge that many marketers face is having their message stand out from the crowd. This is true across all platforms and businesses, even in the healthcare industry. Whether you are marketing through a blog, or through social media, the goal remains the same: to create engaging content that will not only drive traffic to your site, but that users will read, understand, remember, and even share. And adding health infographics can help your strategy.

Your users lead increasingly busy lives, and with so much content fighting for their attention, the average blog post or white paper doesn’t win out easily. This is why infographics have been growing in popularity in the past few years. Unlike plain text, health infographics are bright, engaging, and allow the user to ingest and understand information relatively quickly.

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Health infographics have surged in popularity recently. They provide users with advice on everything from how much water to drink to how often they should be going to the bathroom. And consumers like these infographics because the information contained in them is helpful and relevant to their lives. Because of this, health infographics offer a way for a company to create content that will drive traffic and increase leads and conversions. But first, you have to learn how to create an infographic that is unique and compelling enough to catch users’ attention.

Why Do I Need to Create Health Infographics?

An example of a visual for health infgraphics

Image via Pixabay by Maialisa

Regardless of whether you realize it, you have probably interacted with an infographic recently. They are so common around the internet because they break down data visually to help viewers make sense of complex information. Since the rise of social media, the need for content that can be consumed in bite size, digestible chunks has risen alongside it, and health infographics fulfill that need.

According to this infographic about infographics, a good infographic has the potential to reach 15 million people. This is because they are among the most shared (and re-shared) content on social media. And among those, health is the fourth most popular topic, behind predictably business, technology, and social media. So, if you’re trying to drive traffic to your site or business, an infographic is the way to go.

How Do I Get Started?

If you’re ready to start creating health infographics, the first step is to collect data. For health infographics, there is so much data available across the web that this shouldn’t be too hard. You can also use the infographic as an opportunity to share data that your own company has collected. A health infographic is a great way to organize the information and make it consumable for users.

This simple infographic by David McCandless highlights data in a sparing way. It is a chart showing the mortality rates for different diseases. The size of the bubble indicates the likelihood of health once you have contracted the disease. The author of the chart pulled data from the World Health Organization, the CDC, and the Guardian, to create a simple visual that speaks volumes.

Similarly, this more complex infographic, used by Quench to market cleaner office water coolers uses data from multiple external sources, including the EPA, to position the company as the expert in providing clean drinking water to companies.

It is important to remember the data you use should be relevant not only to your business, but also to the lives of your potential customers’ lives. Start by asking if your product has any potential to help a common health problem, then research to learn everything you can about that problem and locate data that will position your product as the solution.

How Do I Make the Data Compelling?

For most users, data alone is not enough to convince them to buy into your product or service. You have to analyze the data to determine what story you want it to tell, and then arrange it accordingly. This is also where writing skills, either your own or those of a hired gun, will be invaluable. There are three basic things you can add to your data to make it more compelling so that it paints a picture in the mind of your reader:

  • Analogies. Statistics and data can sometimes be complex or obtuse to your users. By creating analogies that compare the data to things to which users can relate, you help them visualize the data and understand it better.

The health infographic Calorie Intake and Outtake, for example,  uses analogies to compare how much of different types of exercise would be necessary to work off the total number of calories in different types of foods. By using these analogies, the author helps the reader make better informed decisions about the foods she eats and the amount of exercise it will take to make up for indulgences.

  • Real-World Examples. It doesn’t necessarily require poetic metaphors and analogies to help your user understand the data. Actual examples of specific situations in which the abstract data has concrete effects will have a similar effect.

The Infographic Sssmokin! Provides specific real-world examples of countries that are involved in the global tobacco trade, and also uses the specific example of the leather jacket to show how participating in the ‘Marlboro Miles’ program effectively leads you to trading days of your life for products you can order. The purpose of the infographic is to help persuade readers to cut the habit and these specific real-world examples help in that regard.

  • Expert Opinion. When you use quotes and commentary from experts in your field whom the user might recognize, you effectively lend credibility to your message and bring your content to life with the real face or words of a person.

The infographic, Is Your Child Dehydrated uses a quote from a doctor Scott Youngquist to help emphasize the importance of making sure children get enough to drink. The purpose of the infographic is to educate parents about what dehydration looks like in children, and this quote from an emergency physician helps to do that.

How Do I Decide on the Visual Look for Health Infographics?

Without creative imagery and design, an infographic is really just another blog post or white paper. In fact, when you see an overly text-heavy infographic such as this one about chemicals in cosmetics and skin care products, you might wonder why it was ever turned into an infographic in the first place.

You may have heard that a picture is worth a thousand words. This idea is especially important when you are creating an infographic. If you’re not going to employ the use of images and pictures to bring your message to life for your user, you might be better off simply creating a blog post. Health infographics can absolutely be successful without many words, but images are fundamental to an infographic’s success.

Still, the visual elements of the infographic should reflect the message they are trying to send. They should tie together in a cohesive theme, and they should not be overly fussy or complicated. People like scrolling through infographics because they provide information in a format that is pleasing to the eye. If your infographic is overly loud or fussy, it will feel less like a pleasant experience and more like an assault on their eyes.

In addition to a visual theme that reflects the overall message of the infographic, you may also want to incorporate your company’s branding. Do you just need the name of the company in the corner? Or do you want to include the company logo or colors? The only limitations on the design of your infographic are the skills of your designer. If you outsource the creation of your infographic, the sky is the limit in terms of your graphic design capabilities.

Once you have settled on a theme for your data visualization, you should work out what visual elements you would like to include to help tell your story. Charts and graphs are an obvious choice, but callouts, geometric shapes, icons, photographs, and more, can all be included in order to create the overall feeling of your infographic. It simply depends on the effects of your data and the message you want to send with it.

Can I Make it Interactive?

One effect of the proliferation of infographics over the past few years is increased competition to grab users’ attention. To make your infographic really stand out from the millions of others across the internet, you might want to give it a little something special. This is where interactivity can help.

Interactive infographics work because they require users to engage not only with text and graphics to understand the message, but they also demand that users interact with the content. Users can simply scroll through animations or turn from one page to the next, while more complicated interactive elements ask them to find information that is hidden behind images, take quizzes, or input personal data to customize the experience.

Physical movement is as fundamental to the way we learn as breathing is to survival. So, it makes sense that adding interactivity to infographics that are already rich in information and visual stimuli would help users understand that information more clearly, and retain it for a longer period of time. This makes your infographic more effective and memorable for each user that encounters it.

Creating interactive infographics is not easy, however. There are a couple of websites with tools to help you add interactive elements to your infographics, but these websites rely primarily on templates and drag-and-drop functionality. For a more customized interactive infographic, consider outsourcing the design to a company such as Copypress. It employs writers, artists, and tech gurus who can create an infographic that will impress anyone who encounters it. And, they will stay in contact with you each step of the way to ensure that you are able to put your own creative stamp on the design.

Where Can I Find Ideas For My Health Infographic?

Now that you know how to plan and create your health infographic, it may be helpful to look at some for inspiration. In addition to those that have already been mentioned, discover a few interactive infographics that do an excellent job of engaging users and conveying a clear message:

  • How Americans Die. This infographic is less macabre than the title suggests. It is a visualization explaining how the primary causes of death have shifted and changed over the last 40 years or so for different age cohorts. The infographic invites users to navigate through several pages of graphs, and interact with them to get more detailed information for specific years, ages, and causes of death. There isn’t a large amount of text in this infographic, but it is so in-depth and visually stunning, it has the potential to engage users for an hour or more and keep them coming back for research.
  • Population Healthier. This is not a traditional infographic, per se. Rather, it is a collection of articles and graphs explaining how portions of the population have gotten overall much healthier over the course of time. It is a little text heavy, as it is loaded with traditional reporting, but scrolling through the project produces animations, zooms in on maps for explanations of health in specific regions, and generally keeps the user visually stimulated.
  • Beneath the Thinking Cap. This interactive infographic is relatively simple in comparison to the others mentioned here. But its functionality is innovative and educational. When you click on a part of the brain, it is highlighted, and you are rewarded with both an explanation of how it functions, as well as interesting facts about it. It would have been useful to have in psych101.

For marketers, data visualization is no longer an option; it is a necessity. A well-planned and executed health infographic can take your marketing from ho-hum to fantastic and engaging. So, step into the future and start planning your infographic today.

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