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INFOGRAPHICS IN
TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION
Agnieszka Tkaczyk
Information Developer, IBM
@aga_tkaczyk
”It doesn't look serious,
like a comic book for children.”
Agnieszka Tkaczyk
FORGETTING CURVE
Agnieszka Tkaczyk
COMMUNICATING WITH
PICTURES
Agnieszka Tkaczyk
Cave drawings Road signs
Modern ideogram
Egyptian hieroglyphs
20%
vision only functioning
HUMAN VISION
Agnieszka Tkaczyk
60%
40%
a combination of visions
and touch, meaning,
movement, ...
Text only
PICTURE SUPERIORITY
EFFECT
Agnieszka Tkaczyk
10% 65%
Text with image
People remember pictures better than words,...
PICTURE SUPERIORITY
EFFECT
Agnieszka Tkaczyk
The picture must reinforce the message from the data and must
draw the attent...
ELEMENTS OF AN
INFOGRAPHIC
Agnieszka Tkaczyk
+
Image
+
TextData visualization
INFOGRAPHIC = STORY
Agnieszka Tkaczyk
CONCLUSION
• Closing thoughts
• Call for action
BODY
• Core of the infographic
• Com...
TIP 1: FOCUS ON ONE BIG
STORY
Agnieszka Tkaczyk
• Do not combine a few small stories into one infographic
• Make the key m...
TIP 2: ADD VISUALIZATIONS,
REMOVE TEXT
Agnieszka Tkaczyk
• Reduce the amount of text
• Use visualizations:
• Reduce the ti...
TIP 3: BE ACCURATE
Agnieszka Tkaczyk
• Data visualizations must match the numbers
• Inaccurate visualization undermines cr...
ADVANTAGES
Agnieszka Tkaczyk
• Reduce the amount of text
• Engage vision and the picture superiority effect
• Boost memori...
CONSIDERATIONS
Agnieszka Tkaczyk
• Not everything can be changed into an infographic
• Cannot substitute documentation
• M...
EXAMPLES
EXAMPLE 1: INSTALLATION
OVERVIEW
Agnieszka Tkaczyk
Detailed checklist
• 329 words
Content:
Tomasz Bartyzel
Design:
Paulina...
EXAMPLE 2:
INFRASTRUCTURE
Agnieszka Tkaczyk
Topic 1:
• 457 words
• 1 diagram
Documentation Infographic
Content:
Dominik Wi...
EXAMPLE 3: PVU LICENSES
Agnieszka Tkaczyk
Topic 1:
• 605 words
• 3 graphics
• 4 tables
Topic 2:
• 134 words
Documentation ...
EXAMPLE 4:
FIXLETS AND TASKS
Agnieszka Tkaczyk
• Spread among multiple
topics
• Referred to in relevant
procedures
Documen...
THANKS FOR YOUR TIME
Questions?
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Agnieszka Tkaczyk - Using infographics in technical communication; soapconf 2014

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Infographics conquered the web. They are used by everyone and for everything. You can come across an infographic which depicts the current demographic trends in the world as well as one that aims at proving the superiority of cats over dogs. But can infographics be used for technical communication? Do they make complex ideas more digestible or are they just a current fad? The presentation provides a handful of tips on creating infographics and some real life examples of how our team used them in the technical context.

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Agnieszka Tkaczyk - Using infographics in technical communication; soapconf 2014

  1. 1. INFOGRAPHICS IN TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION Agnieszka Tkaczyk Information Developer, IBM @aga_tkaczyk
  2. 2. ”It doesn't look serious, like a comic book for children.” Agnieszka Tkaczyk
  3. 3. FORGETTING CURVE Agnieszka Tkaczyk
  4. 4. COMMUNICATING WITH PICTURES Agnieszka Tkaczyk Cave drawings Road signs Modern ideogram Egyptian hieroglyphs
  5. 5. 20% vision only functioning HUMAN VISION Agnieszka Tkaczyk 60% 40% a combination of visions and touch, meaning, movement, spatial navigation, etc.
  6. 6. Text only PICTURE SUPERIORITY EFFECT Agnieszka Tkaczyk 10% 65% Text with image People remember pictures better than words, especially over longer periods of time.
  7. 7. PICTURE SUPERIORITY EFFECT Agnieszka Tkaczyk The picture must reinforce the message from the data and must draw the attention.
  8. 8. ELEMENTS OF AN INFOGRAPHIC Agnieszka Tkaczyk + Image + TextData visualization
  9. 9. INFOGRAPHIC = STORY Agnieszka Tkaczyk CONCLUSION • Closing thoughts • Call for action BODY • Core of the infographic • Combination of text, images, and data visualizations INTRO • Gets the readers’ attention • Introduces the topic • Combination of a title and a paragraph
  10. 10. TIP 1: FOCUS ON ONE BIG STORY Agnieszka Tkaczyk • Do not combine a few small stories into one infographic • Make the key message immediately clear • Eliminate data that is irrelevant
  11. 11. TIP 2: ADD VISUALIZATIONS, REMOVE TEXT Agnieszka Tkaczyk • Reduce the amount of text • Use visualizations: • Reduce the time needed to understand the data • Draw the attention • Help remembering the information
  12. 12. TIP 3: BE ACCURATE Agnieszka Tkaczyk • Data visualizations must match the numbers • Inaccurate visualization undermines credibility • Provide the source of information or company logo • If the presented data might change, tell about that
  13. 13. ADVANTAGES Agnieszka Tkaczyk • Reduce the amount of text • Engage vision and the picture superiority effect • Boost memorization • Entertain and inform • Are fun to create
  14. 14. CONSIDERATIONS Agnieszka Tkaczyk • Not everything can be changed into an infographic • Cannot substitute documentation • May not be treated seriously • Time-consuming • Additional software might be required • Start a life of their own after publication • You need a good place to publish them
  15. 15. EXAMPLES
  16. 16. EXAMPLE 1: INSTALLATION OVERVIEW Agnieszka Tkaczyk Detailed checklist • 329 words Content: Tomasz Bartyzel Design: Paulina Malczak Documentation Infographic
  17. 17. EXAMPLE 2: INFRASTRUCTURE Agnieszka Tkaczyk Topic 1: • 457 words • 1 diagram Documentation Infographic Content: Dominik Wietrzak Design: Paulina Malczak
  18. 18. EXAMPLE 3: PVU LICENSES Agnieszka Tkaczyk Topic 1: • 605 words • 3 graphics • 4 tables Topic 2: • 134 words Documentation Infographic Content: Derek Sherman Design: Paulina Malczak
  19. 19. EXAMPLE 4: FIXLETS AND TASKS Agnieszka Tkaczyk • Spread among multiple topics • Referred to in relevant procedures Documentation Infographic Content and design: Agnieszka Tkaczyk
  20. 20. THANKS FOR YOUR TIME Questions?

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