Designing infographics is an art that requires a lot of versatility. In addition to learning the tools for creating them, you also need a deeper understanding of how infographics can be presented and consumed across all platforms.
Normally, any type of infographic can be viewed smoothly on desktop or laptop computers — thanks to their adequately-sized screens and various interaction options.
Mobile devices, on the other hand, can be quite tricky.
Apart from their smaller screens, the touch interface in mobile devices can make it tedious to view infographics that are optimized for larger displays. Users will have to zoom by pinching, swipe from left to right, and scroll down to view the information they need. This makes it hard for them to appreciate the craftsmanship that went into designing the infographic.
Why the Special Treatment for Mobile Users?
Why should you bother with mobile users in the first place?
Well, unless you were living under a rock, then you should know that mobile devices already account for more internet traffic than personal computers.
In the United States, 65% of every minute spent online are from mobile users. This is primarily due to the portability of smartphones and the improving quality of wireless internet worldwide.
From a business standpoint, the mobile market not only helps you reach a bigger audience, it also allows you to leverage more digital touchpoints for customer interactions. For example, developing a mobile app that implements push notifications will enable you to send timely updates, such as discount offers, location-based promotions, and remarketing messages.
Of course, a mobile environment also provides marketers with the tools to engage the online audience regardless of time or location. Instant messaging and social media apps, for example, will let you accommodate inquiries from existing customer and prospects. It may be unusual for traditional business-owners, but you could even run your business remotely via a mobile device if you want to.
Moving back to the subject of infographics, it’s clear that the mobile experience is far too different from desktop computing to involve the same content strategies. But it shouldn’t be too difficult, especially if you are familiar with the following steps:
1. Upscale Text Elements
The first issue you need to overcome when creating visual content for mobile users is readability. Put simply, you need to compensate for the smaller display sizes by making text elements in your infographic bigger.
Doing so eliminates the need for them to pinch and pan the screen to read the information they want to read — thus, making their experience significantly better.
Keep in mind that infographics are not full-length articles. As you create the script, focus on highlighting key takeaways instead of writing an entire paragraph to elaborate a point.
Here’s an example of how infographics, in general, should be designed:
It isn’t a coincidence that the most prominent infographic design trends in 2017 included large headlines and dynamic typography. Visual marketers are already embracing the reign of mobile devices, and you should too.
2. Keep 720p in Mind
For infographic designers, an image width of 800 pixels or more is typical for “average” projects. While this is ideal for most desktop or laptop displays, it may lead blurry text and visual elements when viewed in some smartphones.
Today, the vast majority of entry-level phones have a 720p screen, which is already considered as the standard HD-ready resolution. With such a display, a mobile browser has no choice but to scale down an 800-pixel infographic in order to fit the smaller screen.
Sure, users can zoom in to view the infographic in full resolution, which will result in crisper and more readable text. But, in turn, they’ll have to pan around the image to see details that are outside the viewable space.
You can easily avoid this issue by keeping infographics below 700 pixels in width as you design them. This will give you a more accurate representation of how the final output would look like to mobile users.
A word of advice: try not to put text near the left and right edges of the infographic. Users with curved-edge smartphones will thank you for it.
3. Design for Long Scrolling
A smartphone’s display may be limited in terms of horizontal space. But vertically, it can go on forever.
When consuming content on a mobile device, nothing feels more natural than swiping up to see more. That’s why long infographics are perfect for mobile users since they can be navigated entirely using one gesture.
The long-scrolling format for infographics will also allow you to leverage the process of progression, which can maximize audience engagement and create a more impactful experience overall.
For example, instead of creating a wild, mash-up of visualizations and text content that doesn’t follow a logical sequence, your infographic can have a story-driven structure, like:
- Start off by introducing a relatable problem
- Add a few, up-to-date statistics to heighten urgency
- Elaborate your solutions
- Show examples or case studies
- Highlight key takeaways
- Provide tips and tricks
- Summarize and empower
- Cite your valid sources
Creating a “timeline” is a surefire way to leverage progression and pacing in a long-scrolling infographic. It may not exactly mobile-friendly, but the example below should give you some inspiration:
4. Break Down Existing Infographics
If you already have a library of infographics at your disposal, it’s tempting to just paste them into your mobile content and call it a day. After all, unless you design your infographics yourself, you should know that creating infographics for marketing can be quite costly.
Fortunately, there are ways for you to repurpose existing infographics and modify them for mobile viewing. For one, possessing the raw assets of an infographic means you can directly re-scale the elements using applications like Photoshop or the GIMP.
A simpler solution, however, is to break down a large infographic into smaller, bite-sized chunks. This can be implemented in many ways — depending on your objective and the type of infographic you’re trying to repurpose.
The most common approach is to slice up the infographics per section and share them through image-sharing networks.
For example, the infographic below is packed with useful information, but it’s in no way viewable for smaller devices:
So, rather than sharing the infographic as a whole, you can break down key sections and publish them individually. You don’t need to do anything fancy for this step — just launch a native image-editing application and use the built-in crop tool.
Here’s an example using Microsoft Paint:
After cropping the infographic, you should now have a more mobile-friendly image:
Just remember to save your changes under a different filename to prevent losing the original image.
The main challenge of this strategy is finding sections that convey a coherent thought without requiring the rest of the infographic. In case the sections are too dependent on each other to retain their value, consider compiling them into an explainer video or as a presentation on SlideShare.
Another option is to fill the information gaps using other content, such as short image descriptions or blurbs. This can also be an opportunity to utilize infographics for your marketing objectives.
For example, if your end goal is to bring the audience to your site, then you can simply crop the beginning portion of your infographic, share the image on Instagram, and include the URL to the appropriate landing page.
5. Plug In a CTA and Branding Elements
Repurposing infographics via cropping often means losing essential conversion and branding elements. But with an image-editing tool like Canva, you can easily add them right back.
Canva is a cloud-based image editing application that features a drag-and-drop interface. It may not be as comprehensive as software like Photoshop, but it can certainly get the job done.
To add a CTA to your infographic, start with a new design using the size of the image file.
Tip: If your infographic doesn’t have sufficient whitespace for the elements you need to add, try using a slightly longer image size for your new design.
In the main editor, click the “Uploads” button and upload the image file that you want to edit. Next, simply drag and drop the image into the main editor.
You may have to adjust the image to fit the entire page. Since their dimensions are similar, there shouldn’t be any noticeable loss in image quality.
Once you’re done with this step, you can now add the elements you need into any whitespace. Simply head to the “Elements” or “Text” tabs to see your options.
In the example below, a circle shape and a bit of body text are the CTA:
Of course, adding elements to an existing infographic requires creativity. The example above may not be stellar, but it will help you grasp the process.
Always remember that infographics are only as effective as your distribution strategy. Even with a top-notch design, it may not be as impactful as you’d hope if you put user experience on the back burner.
The strategies above should be more than sufficient to help you create mobile-friendly infographics. If you think we missed an important step for mobile-friendliness, feel free to let us know in the comments below!
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