Who doesn’t love nuggets of information organized in an easy to read, eye-catching format that includes pretty pictures and large format text?
Infographics, word clouds, flow charts, and diagrams are more than just tools of the tech trade. These visual storyboards talk to today’s 140-character audience and tell a story much better than a text heavy press release or marketing brochure.
Plus, people love to share information that tells a story. Need help getting started? Here are five tools to help tell your story visually:
Wordle (word clouds)
I make word clouds all the time. (In fact, I think it’s starting to inhibit my ability to get work done.) It’s simple and the results may surprise you. The clouds highlight words you use most often and let you get creative with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. You can paste text, enter a URL that has an RSS feed or Atom, or enter a del.icio.us
user name to see their tags. Wordle equals hours of entertainment.
Visual.ly rocks. Not only can you use it to search just about every infographic subject possible, but also you can use it to create your own. With visual.ly you can upload custom Infographics for the world to share and explore. It is also getting ready to launch customizable Infographics in categories such as sports and politics. We use Facebook fan page infographics to show our clients the growth, interactions, and engagement that have occurred on their fan pages over a 30-day period. It’s much quicker than any paid program out there.
gliffy (flow charts and diagrams)
Creating flow charts and diagrams are not my strong point. I can barely create a PowerPoint presentation and my computer’s paint program sometimes proves too much for me. Enter, gliffy, a tool that makes it simple to create, share, and even collaborate with others on diagrams and flow charts. It maps out everything from SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis (a personal favorite) to business process modeling and technical drawings.
The pre-built templates make it easy to get started, and the drag and drop shapes enable you to get creative without having to be creative. I like it because it enables me to create an org chart that I can easily hand to a client so they know who their team is, how to contact them, and who is in charge. And I can make it pretty.
Hohli (Venn diagram)
Not sure what a Venn diagram looks like? Imagine three circles intersecting with the overlapping circles highlighting the common relationships between the sects. Make sense? You start by uploading an image URL and decided what type of chart you want, the size, background, and the title. Hohli makes everything from Venn diagrams to radar charts and scatter plots. This is useful for PR and marketing presentations and helps get data points across in a much more visually pleasing format.
Easelly (infographics and Web-based data visualizations)
Easelly is still in beta and is a theme-based Web app for creating infographics and Web-based data visualization (that’s straight from the website). You drop and drag artwork onto template infographics ,and you can edit and customize any of the objects on the screen. The company says it’s easy as drag, drop, edit, and share. You can add custom colors, shapes and text. You can even create the infographic so it’s compatible with a mobile phone. This application works best if you have some basic design skills. It’s not for those that can’t operate PowerPoint—like me.
Abbi Whitaker is the president of The Abbi Agency. Follow her on Twitter @abbijayne. A version of this story first appeared on the Abbi Agency Blog.