An infographic is a visual representation of information or data. The aim is to help the reader identify and visualise the important messages quickly and easily. A good infographic portrays the key results of the review in a simple and visual way. Be aware, although the end product may look simple, the process of getting there can be quite complex and time-intensive.
How to create an infographic
Before producing an infographic, you will need to consider your key messages that you wish to share, and whether the messages are appropriate to share visually. Can you think of images that can replace words in your findings? Your infographic should be comprehensive enough to give complete information to the reader, but also act as a gateway to the full summary of findings.
Consider your audience. The information you present, and how you present it, will depend on who you are addressing in your infographic.
- Different cultures prefer different visuals and colours. Graphics and symbols may have different meaning in different contexts, and if you use images or stories of people, your audience needs to be able to relate to them.
- If you plan to offer your infographic in different languages, also take into account that some languages require more space than others. For example, Chinese or Japanese need little space, whereas German or Russian need more space.
Here is a guide you can use to help you produce infographics (described in this guide as "visual abstracts"). This guide includes information on:
- An introduction on the use of visual abstracts to share information
- Principles of design thinking and how to make a visual abstract
- How to disseminate your visual abstract on social media
- How to get your journal to adopt using visual abstracts to disseminate research
Top tip! Once you have a draft of your infographic, use the dissemination checklist to improve the draft.
Additional infographic resources
Learning Live Webinar: "Visualising Cochrane Evidence in practice: experience from the Cochrane Common Mental Disorders group" presenting experiences with using visual storytelling infographics.
- Visualising Health Design Guidelines: This external resource shares 7 principles of public health infographic design that you can apply when creating your infographic.
Infographics in different languages
You can create infographics in different languages, or you can translate infographics that have been created by others. If you want to translate existing infographics, contact the people who created them to get their permission, and attribute them in your translated version. Be aware, as indicated above, that infographics may need visual and content adaptions so that they are appropriate for different local contexts.
Sharing your infographic
Once you’re ready to publish your infographic online, download it as an image file (i.e. PNG) as well as publishing it on Piktochart. This gives you lots of different options for sharing the infographic. Here are some suggestions:
Send people the URL of your infographic through email. Think of Cochrane groups or stakeholders who may have an interest in the topic. This page shares how to write more effective targeted emails.
If you manage a Cochrane group website or blog, embed the infographic code there.
You could share the PNG file on social media or through newsletters. For more information on social media platforms and how to use them effectively, visit this page.
- To share your infographicusing the Cochrane Central social media accounts, including the Comms Network Digest, contact Muriah Umoquit (firstname.lastname@example.org). Visit this page to learn more about the Cochrane Central communications channels.
Evaluating the effect of your infographic
Finding out whether your infographic is used is important if you want to determine if the time to produce it was well spent.
Social media analytics may help evaluate how many people have viewed or shared the infographic, also known as the “reach” of your infographic.
To evaluate the impact of the infographic, you may need to ask your users how useful they found the infographic, or how they used it or intend to use it in their decision-making process. Three questions you could ask users are:
- Have you learned something new as a result of this infographic?
- Do you intend to use this information to make a decision? (note: this is a question to ask people when they first get access to the infographic, in case you are not able to track them down later to evaluate your infographic).
- Have you used information from this infographic to make a decision? (note: this is a question you can ask after people have had access to the infographic for a longer time period)
Examples of infographics from Cochrane groups
Examples of infographics for Cochrane evidence
- Infographic on portion size review (Cochrane UK)
- Visual summaries on turning babies (Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth)
- Infographic on hyperthermia at birth (Cochrane Neonatal)
- Visual storytelling eHealth interventions for anxiety and depression (Cochrane Common Mental Disorders)
Examples of other ways to visualise Cochrane review findings
- Evidence Flowers: Distal Radial Fractures in Adults (Cochrane UK)
- Comics: The Science of Cookies - Selective versus routine use of episiotomy for vaginal birth (This blog explains the development process for this comic)