We’ve all come across infographics that have stopped us in our tracks, but that “woaaah” feeling isn’t just created by chance. There’s a whole host of psychological factors that go into making a killer infographic.
The human brain isn’t quite as modern as we think it is. We’re still guided by many of the principles that prompted some kick-ass cave drawings. So when you see an infographic that makes you drop everything and immediately share it, there is a range of scientific reasons behind it your decision to do so.
Understanding these factors can have a seriously positive impact on the engagement and share-rates of your content, and the visual nature of infographics is the perfect platform to put them to the test. Let’s take a look at some psychological principles to bear in mind when designing infographics for your website or eCommerce company.
The Meaning of Colour
We all know the basics of colour theory, right? Red = anger. Yellow = happiness. Blue = sadness.
But the science suggests it isn’t quite that simple. It turns out that individual experience can play a huge part in interpreting the colours in your infographic. What means joy for one person might mean pain for another. Make sure you combine some of the other techniques in this post if you want to provoke a certain reaction.
So if you run an eCommerce company and you want your infographic to make your viewers happy, you’ll have to do a bit more than just splash on the yellow. The Gestalt school of psychology founded the idea that, in visual media, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
For an infographic, that means that viewers take it in as one piece, rather than as separate colours, fonts and graphics. To hook your visitors, it needs to work as an entity of its own.
The Importance of White Space
White space — or negative space — is the bit in your infographic where nothing’s there. Nada. Zilch. In fact, white space needn’t even be white. Line spacing and the margins are the two main examples of negative space you’ll be contending with.
Research has shown that the use of margins makes text more satisfying to read. Reading text with a margin also makes it easier to process information, so consider a bit of negative space around your infographics to make them more readable.
The Eternal Dilemma: Font Choice
Finding the right font can take — and I mean no exaggeration when I say this — hundreds of thousands of years.
There’s so much to consider when choosing a font that you can end up settling for something that’s not quite right. The result of that is putting your readers off before they’ve given your infographic a chance.
Luckily, there’s some scientific backing to finding the right font. First, you’ve got to decide on your purpose. Are you trying to be fun and sparkly or serious and informative? A study found that certain fonts have personality traits attributed to them.
For example, Cambria is seen as being suitable for business documents and website text, because it’s simple and readable. More playful fonts, like Comic Sans, are better suited to less traditional uses, like e-greeting cards.
When you’re designing your infographic, try not to go overboard with the funkier fonts. Make sure people can actually read the text, and use bold text for headings. At Exposure Ninja, we usually prefer to capitalise our headings to make things super clear.
Keep Your Infographics Simple
A strong infographic should focus on telling one story in a clear way. The emphasis here should be on the “one”.
When people are confronted with more than one option, their decision time increases. Likewise, if your infographic has several different strands of information, your readers will probably switch off.
Consider adopting a linear structure, where your reader starts at the top and works their way down. In the mobile age, portrait-orientation infographics always work better.
Be Aware of Loading Time
Before you release your infographic to the world, consider how big the file is. If it’s an enormous beast, filled to the brim with juicy data and killer graphics, it might dent a website’s loading speed.
Why does that matter? Well, research has found that people aren’t too patient with loading times. Amazon calculated that a one-second slow-down on their site could cost them $1.6 billion in sales each year. If people aren’t willing to stick around for one of the biggest retailers in the world, they might be even less patient when it comes to the pages of your eCommerce company.
It’s also worth considering your target audience when deciding on the size of your infographic file. Young people are more likely to click away because of a longer load time than older people. So if your infographic is aimed at school kids, it’s best to keep it short and sweet.
Now you know the science behind the humble infographic, you’ll be able to spot a winner from a mile off. So if you’re feeling creative, use the pointers we’ve provided and create your own kick-ass, shareable infographic.