Tag Archives: Market Research Infographics

Infographics: From fad to fail to forward thinking

Everyone loves a pretty picture. They instantly grab our
attention and force us to take a closer, more in-depth look. Indeed, I used my
incredible graphic design skills (PowerPoint!) to create a visualization just
for this blog and I’m sure you’ve already taken a peek at it.
Like the rest of the world, market researchers are keen to
take advantage of the power of data visualization. Traditionally, our
visualization tools have included bar charts, pie
charts, line charts, and a few other (not-so) fancy tricks that we scatter throughout
our reports with the sole intention of breaking up massive collections of text and tables and hopefully making everything a little more understandable.
Recent years have opened our eyes to a new world of infographics but a quick internet search for ‘Infographic
‘ reinforces the point of my infographic. We’ve yet to crack that
nut. Our attempts at data visualization in the form of infographics continue to fail in many regards from pointless
decoration, silly fonts, and ridiculous font sizes, to insufficient detail and no
documentation. They continue to stress design over content.
I love a good visualization as much as the next person and would love
to see market researchers spread the joy of numbers and analysis through them.
But as a group, we are severely lacking in those skills. And don’t argue with
me about that. You just need to look at my infographic. It’s a complete fail. Yet it
represents the utmost level of my artistic talent and creativity. 
Researchers have
been trained to analyze, synthesize, and storyize data. Not color it, dress it
up, and make it museum ready. Our industry desperately needs artists,
graphic designers, artists, and animators who LOVE and understand numbers. We have these wonderful people in our marketing department so why aren’t they regular contributors to our research departments?

So I challenge you. As you look forward to your next 5000 page report, consider how much more powerful it would be if you pulled in a teammate from the marketing department. 

Needless to say, I’ll see you at Alisa Olander’s Data
Visualization presentation (10am, Monday May 19, #FOCI14). I may never acquire
the essential artistic skills but at least I’d like to know how those with the skills do
the work.
Annie Pettit, PhD is the Chief Research Officer at Peanut Labs, a company specializing in self-serve panel sample. Annie is a methodologist focused on data quality, listening research, and survey methods. She won Best Methodological Paper at Esomar 2013, and the 2011 AMA David K. Hardin Award. Annie tweets at @LoveStats and can be reached at annie@peanutlabs.com.

Infographics or Info-annoying?

Today’s post comes from TMRE Guest Blogger, Katie Clark. She is also known as @InsightsGal on Twitter and a client-side market researcher, project manager, and social media maven. 

Ok folks, let’s talk infographics. They are a hot topic in business information circles (including research), and love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’re here to stay.

Let’s break this down. Common complaints about infographics that I’ve heard include:

  • -They’re busy ‘ there’s so much information in one visual that they eye is not sure where to look’and how the heck do you print them out?
  • -Everyone thinks they are an infographics designer, even if they’re just essentially creating a colorful PowerPoint slide. Take this HOT PINK infographic about the Kardashian wedding for example.  
  • -They’re too simplistic and incomplete ‘ they’re not communicating the full scope of research findings to the customer or end-user.
  • -Unless you have in-house graphic design, good infographics can be very expensive to produce.
  • -Data used in infographics is dated, incorrect, or very biased.

Ok, let’s face it, there are some pretty awful infographics out there, and the tide of folks complaining about infographics is growing.  Witness sites such as a Tumblr for terrible infographics, articles such as ‘Ending the Infographic Plague ,’ and, well, this one from Gizmodo. There are also folks out there simply not using the correct information (i.e. old data when new data is available) to create their infographics.

All of these complaints aside, it’s hard to ignore the fact that sometimes one infographic piece can cut through the clutter of overwhelming data and give the client or end-user an ‘ah hah’ moment.  That’s when an infographic is done well, delivering data in an unexpected way that resonates. In addition to using infographics for client presentations and deliverables, infographics are typically excellent traffic drivers on your website, so it’s understandable why they’re particularly popular right now.

So, if you’re working on a project that involves infographics, remember they have a short shelf life (data gets old fast!), they can be expensive to produce, and it’s on YOU to ensure they’re done accurately.

For inspiration (and guidance) be sure to check out the fabulous Edward Tufte, ‘The Leonardo da Vinci of data,’ and you can start with some good examples curated by Kissmetrics.

Also remember that if you’re joining us at TMRE in November there are some related to data visualization, such as ‘Making an Impact ‘ Data Visualization and Deployment Techniques that Bring Research to Life.’

Finally, are you curious about research-specific infographics? Look no further than The Nitty GRITty of the Research Industry!


More about Katie: Based in Portland, Maine, Katie manages the market research team at Diversified Business Communications. She has worked with companies large and small and in industries such as seafood, 3D laser imaging, software, fragrance, finance, and entertainment to help them move the business forward through actionable insights derived from market research. She is passionate about bringing the’Voice of the Customer’ inside the organization. The opinions expressed here are her own and not those of her employer.

If you’d like to join Katie at TMRE 2012 this November 12-14 in Boca Raton, Florida, register today and mention code TMRE12BLOG and save 15% off the standard rate! For more about this year’s program, download the agenda.