Home > Articles > Business & Management

This chapter is from the book

Why Infographics Work for Business

It is evident from the preceding section that our brains are “wired” for visual communication. But how does the scientific rationale for using infographics translate to the world of business?

There is no doubt that our attention spans are becoming more compressed as technology and digital media become more prevalent in our personal and professional lives. In the age of information overload, data crashes over us like a tidal wave (see Figure 1.4). There are a number of dynamics at play that help make a business case for the use of infographics in your marketing, content strategy, or communication mix.

Figure 1.4

Figure 1.4 Information tidal wave.

In an era of data overload, infographics offer your audience information in a format that is easy to consume and share.

Easy to Digest

Your audiences are consuming more and more of their information online, so it’s important to understand how the process of interacting with digital data differs from that of print.

In general, we tend to read much slower off a screen than we do from more tactile media such as books and magazines. The reality is we have become scanners and skimmers of content.

Over the last two decades, renowned web usability expert Jakob Nielsen has been researching how users interact with the web. One thing he discovered is just how little we actually like to read online, establishing that the average person will read about 20% of the words on a regular web page.9

The information age has also sparked a change in how your audience processes information and navigates the web. One behavior pattern that has developed is Continuous Partial Attention,10 in which web users are simultaneously connected to multiple digital channels in order to maximize their access to information. The end result is increased exposure to content but at a more superficial level, creating slivers of attention (see Figure 1.5).

Figure 1.5

Figure 1.5 Slivers of attention.

As we continue to gain access to vast volumes of information, our attention spans are becoming more fractured. Because the brain seeks out and notices things that are different, it can be easier to attract more slivers of your audience’s attention by communicating your information visually.

One of the by-products of this new online reality is the “attention economy,” the idea that a consumer’s attention to information has become a form of currency. A user becomes aware of your content, invests an amount of mental energy consuming that information, and then decides whether to engage further.11

Social media strategy consultant, speaker, and author Jay Baer believes that technology is shaping the evolution of communication in this era of fractured attention spans.

“To a large degree, technology dictates how we communicate,” says Baer. “Time wasn’t an issue in the days when we used scrolls and long-form writing to share information.”

Baer goes on to say that infographics fit very well into the “140-character” world: “As we become more pressed for time, concise, crystallized communication has become more important.”

In an era where time is at a premium and attention is becoming a precious commodity, your audience is looking for nuggets of information. Infographics serve that need by presenting knowledge in an easy-to-digest format.


Another important online communication dynamic is “word of mouse”—the ability of your information to spread digitally from person to person.

You don’t need to be a programmer to embed sharing functionality on digital channels. Sharing toolbars and widgets are very accessible to content creators and are becoming commonplace on websites, blogs, and social networks.

When it comes to sharing content, the challenge is less technological than it is behavioral.

Many people are not comfortable sharing a link to an article, blog post, or web page unless they’ve had the chance to read it. A lot of content is shared across business networks, and many professionals want to make sure that information is relevant to their audience and congruent with their opinions and beliefs before they share it. Being pressed for time, many people don’t necessarily have the luxury of reading lengthy amounts of text. As a result, they are less likely to share certain types of content.

Jason Falls, CEO of Social Media Explorer LLC, thinks that infographics have an inherently low barrier when it comes to sharing. “With infographics, you’re not asking people to spend ten minutes reading eight hundred words of text,” says Falls. “If you’ve got the key point of your message summed up in an attractive infographic, your audience can glance at it and get it...that’s faster.” He goes on to say that infographics are shared because “they are easy to comprehend and don’t take up much of people’s time. If infographics communicate something useful, there is a strong likelihood that people will share them with their networks.”

Falls also feels that there is a reluctance to share long-form content. “These days, I think people are more hesitant when it comes to sharing lengthy blog posts or videos,” he says. “If you’ve got an infographic that literally takes 20 seconds or so to scroll and scan, it becomes quick and easy to study and makes it much more shareable.”12

A well-placed, self-contained infographic addresses our need to be confident about the content we’re sharing. Infographics relay the gist of your information quickly, increasing the chance for it to be shared and fueling its spread across a wide variety of digital channels.

The “Cool” Factor

Aesthetics are another reason that well-designed infographics are an effective communication tool. Simply put, infographics are different—and cool to look at, as in Figure 1.6!

Figure 1.6

Figure 1.6 The Cool Factor.

Infographics serve practical business communication goals, but also work because they are cool and aesthetically pleasing. This fun infographic, created by Column Five for MySpace, shows the quirky inner-workings of the mind of a film buff. (Source: Column Five for MySpace. You can view the full version of this infographic at http://bitly.com/yHhoN9)

Competition for your audience’s attention is fierce. The average person is exposed to the equivalent of 174 newspapers full of information every day.13 As a result, the person your brand is trying to connect with probably spends only a few seconds on your content before deciding whether to move on to the next post, site, or network. Differentiating your organization, brand, or ideas is critical.

That fact that infographics are unique allows organizations an opportunity to make the content they are publishing stand out and get noticed.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020