About

Randy Krum infographic designerRandy Krum

President of InfoNewt.
Data Visualization, Infographic Design, Visual Thinking, Product Development and Marketing professional fascinated by good infographics.  Always looking for better ways to get the point across.

 

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Infographic Design

Looking for help creating your own infographics?  Randy’s infographic and data visualziation design company:

InfoNewt Infographic Design

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Wednesday
Jul022014

Secrets of a Killer Blog Post: Images

Secrets of a Killer Blog Post: Images infographic

It can be hard to run a successful blog. Here at Cool Infographics, we strongly believe in graphics and images (big surprise right?). But if you still need a little persuading, the Secrets of a Killer Blog Post: Images infographic can tell you more great things about images and what they can do for your blog.

You already know that well-researched, high-quality content is the backbone of a killer blog post. But don’t underestimate the importance of a strong visual component when you’re composing your latest and greatest update for your audience

The human brain processes images in as little as 13 milliseconds—less than the blink of an eye.

A post with an image is far more enticing to the bounce-happy readers of the Internet than one without, and is more likely to be shared on social media as well.

There’s a lot of information in this one!  Everything this design mentions about photos and images applies to posting infographics as well.

Published by whoishostingthis.com

Tuesday
Jun242014

HelpMeViz: DataViz Community Feedback for Your Charts

HelpMeViz: DataViz Community Feedback for Your Charts

Have you ever struggled with which type of chart to use in your presentation? Or how to get Excel to display the chart the way you want it to appear?  Or don’t know what software will create the data visualization you would like to use?

Jon Schwabish is a data visualization specialist, and in 2013 he launched a new website to help everyone become better at data visualization called HelpMeViz.  The HelpMeViz site invites you to submit your data visualization projects to get feedback from the community.  The community is encouraged to offer suggestions, critiques and debate ideas about chart formats, software tricks, visual applications and visualization methods that can be valuable feedback to make your data more understandable and impactful.

 

The data visualization community consists of people who use data and design to tackle a variety of issues and challenges. Outside of a few specific blogs and tutorials however, there isn’t a place where that community can provide in-depth comments and criticism on data visualization projects. This site is designed to facilitate discussion, debate, and collaboration from the data visualization community.

The site is open to anyone who is searching for feedback on their visualization designs, from seasoned designers and data visualization specialists to individual analysts searching to improve their graphic displays. All types of visualizations are welcome: simple, single line or bar charts to full-blown infographics to interactive visualizations.

If you have a chart that just isn’t working, or getting your message across to your audience, you can upload it to the site, and get really useful, actionable advice from the Community.

Mapping Program Participation by State

Jon is currently the Senior Researcher and Data Visualization Expert at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC, and he took some time to answer a few interview questions from me about the HelpMeViz site:

Cool Infographics: Who is the target audience of the site?

Jon Schwabish: The site was created for anyone—truly anyone—to seek feedback or submit comments. I want anyone to be able to use the site—from the data visualization expert to the experienced JavaScript programmer to the research assistant using Excel. To attract that broad audience, I decided against using established tools or sites like Flickr, Pinterest, Behance, or Dribbble. Many of those sites require users to create an account, or have some other barrier to easy entry and I wanted to avoid those types of barriers. Additionally, I felt that sites like Stack Overflow and GitHub appeared too difficult for the everyday user. So, although it’s often said that you should refine your audience, I wanted to go broad here to make it as accessible as possible.


Cool Infographics: How often do people post new visualization questions to HelpMeViz.com?

Jon Schwabish: To date, I’ve posted at least one visualization per week. There have been a few weeks when I’ve been able to do more. Interactive visualizations and ones that have a unique design question—for example, how to create something in Excel—generate the most interest.


Cool Infographics: Are you having success getting the audience to engage and recommend design ideas?

Jon Schwabish: For the most part, I haven’t had to engage the audience much on my own; community members have taken most of the initiative to engage with the content, making light work for me on that end. I’d like to see more requests on the design side—questions about font or color or layout. To date, requests have been primarily about tools and creation of the visualization. But I think a lot of people would benefit from asking basic design-style questions.


Cool Infographics: Does it take much of your own time to participate and keep the site running?

Jon Schwabish: It doesn’t take too much of my own time, but that will change, I hope, as the amount of content increases. I oftentimes have to rewrite the text to clarify the challenge or goal. Sometimes I need to tweak an image or extract an image from a larger document. I rarely fiddle with the data—if the person who submitted the visualization could use it to create the graphic, then it’s probably close enough for others to use. I’ll usually correspond with the submitter once or twice to make sure he or she is okay with my edits and then I post the submission.


Cool Infographics: What are the best examples of successful projects posted to the site?

Jon Schwabish: There have been a number of interesting challenges.

Perhaps the thing I’m most excited about for the site right now is the live Hackathon that will be held on Saturday, June 28, with Bread for the World Institute. We are inviting 25 coders, designers, and data scientists to help the Institute with two data visualization challenges. I will be live blogging the event and will make the data available on the HelpMeViz site so that anyone around the world can join the discussion and provide his or her own visualization suggestions.

This site is truly made for everyone, and I encourage you to check it out.  The feedback can range from Excel charting tips to visualization programming code.  You can upload your own charting challenges, offer recommendations on other people’s charts or just lurk and learn from the advice of other experts.

If you’re in the DC area, be sure to check out the HelpMeViz Hackathon event on Saturday, June 28th! HelpMeViz will bring together coders, data scientists, and data visualizers in Washington, DC, to help Bread for the World Institute with two data visualization challenges for its 2015 Hunger Report, which focuses on why women’s empowerment is essential to ending global hunger.

Thanks to Jon for creating this incredible resource, and taking the time to answer a few questions!

Friday
May302014

What Makes the Perfect Blog Post?

What Makes the Perfect Blog Post? infographic

What Makes the Perfect Blog Post? infographic from blogpros.com takes information gathered from 100 highly ranked blog posts and puts it together so we can learn from those best practices.  Even though the infographic can stand on its own, it was published as a companion piece to a much more detailed article.

Always interested in what goes into the best content we can publish, we recently performed an analysis of 100 top blog posts across a number of popular sites, including Forbes, Mashable, KISSMetrics and SearchEngineWatch. The data speaks for itself, but the conclusions are up to you. What do you see in the data? Here’s what we think.

The simple color palette makes the data visualizations very easy to read.  Some of them are very well know publishing tips like providing social sharing buttons and including images.  I don’t believe that the number of characters in a title has any bearing on its success, but good titles are very important.

I don’t know if any of these factors had any influence on whether these blog posts were popular or not.  These are purely observations by the designer and may be considered to be correlated instead of causing blog post success.

Tuesday
May132014

Marketing FAIL: Infographics Hidden Behind Registration Walls

There’s a growing marketing practice that I think is a huge marketing mistake. I’ve seen a number of infographics being published by companies that require the reader to enter their name, email address and other contact information before they can even view the design. This “registration wall” is a way for marketers to gather the contact information from the readers so they can send out additional marketing emails later. In my opinion, publishing an infographic behind a registration wall just doesn’t make any sense.

Here’s an example of what you might see on one of these registration wall pages:

Infographics Registration Wall Fail Example

I completely understand putting valuable content behind a registration wall as a method to capture the contact information from potential leads. I get it.  Assuming the hidden content is closely related to the company’s business, the audience interested in that content is likely to represent a pool of potential customers. If they’re willing to give up their valuable email address to gain access to that content, they are probably a fairly strong potential customer (or a competitor checking out your valuable content!).

However, infographics are the wrong type of content to use for this purpose. The companies I see that are hiding infographics behind registration walls are missing the benefit of infographics, which is to deliver easy to understand information to the audience in a format that’s also easy to share because it’s completely contained within the image file.

First, online infographics are meant to be shared. Infographics are popular online for two reasons, easy to understand information and easy to share. Much easier than text articles or blog posts. As soon as one reader shares the hidden infographic image file on their blog or posts it in social media, the infographic is released to the public and available to everyone without registering. Even if you ask people not to share it publicly, the accepted practice online is to freely share infographics.

Second, the research commissioned by Janrain from 2012 indicates that 86% of people may leave a website when asked to create an account. Most of the audience will just leave instead of going through with the registration process to gain access to the infographic. They never see the infographic, never read the data and never hear the message. 

Lost Infographic Audience

Third, the search engines can’t see past the registration wall. No keywords, no meta-data, no text. The search engines can’t index the content behind the registration wall, so your infographic won’t show up in search results. Only the short, publicly accessible teaser information on the registration page has any chance of being indexed to appear in results.

Here’s what I recommend. Use a compelling infographic as a top level summary of the more detailed content you put behind the registration wall. All of the people that share your infographic, are effectively advertising your more detailed information. You could even make the infographic landing page on your website also the registration page to get more information.  

This way the infographics are available publicly to view and share, and the free content draws in readers to the registration page. The truly interested readers will also give you their contact information to gain access to the more-detailed report or white paper that you have available behind the registration wall.  Now you have built your brand credibility with a widely shared infographic, and you have gathered a pool of potentially valuable leads.

For more statistics and information about registration walls, check out The Registration Challenge infographic from Janrain:

The Registration Challenge infographic

How to Solve the Online Registration Challenge infographic published by Janrain in 2012.

How often have you become frustrated filling out online registration forms? There is a better way. Janrain has compiled data on some of the most challenging aspects of online registration forms and simple solutions to improve the user experience…and conversion rates.

Monday
May052014

The Explosive Growth of Cloud Computing

The Explosive Growth of Cloud Computing infographic

Cloud computing is definitely a growing trend. Are you in the position to enjoy all of what cloud computing has to offer? The Explosive Growth of Cloud Computing infographic from Eclipse lets you know what you could be missing if you don’t join their network. 

Now is the time to get on the growth curve of cloud services as we are seeing ever-increasing demand for these services – look at how they have developed in the home with subscription services such as Netflix and Love Film. There is a real on-demand economy and as a result, a new, smarter way of working.

So, if it’s time to investigate cloud services for your business it’s also time to look at your connectivity partner, and a partner who provides both connectivity and cloud services will know exactly what you need to ensure a robust internet connection. Look for a partner who is prepared to really understand your business needs and the role of both the cloud and connectivity in those needs; a partner that will tailor-make solutions to your exact business requirements and stay away from the one-size-fits-all mantra; and a partner who provides a high service assurance accompanied by easily accessible monitoring systems so you can be ‘in the know’ regarding your network’s performance.

Great use of doughnut charts, bar charts, logos and icons to tells the story of the growth of cloud computing.

Thanks to David for sending in the link!

Thursday
Apr242014

Smart Ways to Combine Content Marketing With SEO

Smart Ways to Combine Content Marketing With SEO infographic

The Smart Ways to Combine Content Marketing With SEO infographic is essentially a big list of the most popular online services in a number of different categories.  Published by blogmost, it’s meant as a reference tool for Marketers to help plan out their content strategies.

Trying to build High Quality Links without paying anyone? This infographic reveals techniques to build them and complete details of good website + mentioned Great SEO & SMO tools for better Marketing.

No data or numbers, the most prominent sites and companies are shown for 26 different online service categories.  The randomness of circle sizes appears to visualize some type of information, but there’s no data behind them.  It’s just the designer sizing them to fit the different logos and icons.

The design does a fantastic job of using logos and icons in place of text.  This makes the overall design faster and easier for the audience to read through.  It’s a much more enjoyable experience than reading the text name of all the different companies, brands and sites.

Some description at the top would be helpful to describe how the sites were chosen for readers that find the infographic on other sites.  The URL of the infographic Landing Page on the blogmost site in the footer would also be helpful for the readers to be able to find the original full-size version and associated text.

Found on Visual.ly

Monday
Mar312014

Map of the Internet 2.0 Poster

Map of the Internet 2.0 Poster

Designer Martin Vargic has released an updated version of his Map of the Internet 2.0 that creates what looks like a vintage-style map.  However, this version plots out the major websites and technology companies, with related sites grouped together on the same continent.  The sizes of the websites on the map are scaled relative to their number of visitors, so bigger sites show as bigger geographic regions.

Second version of our flagship project, the Map of the Internet.

This conceptual work of cartography treats major internet sites and enterprises such as Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, HP, and Apple like sovereign states, on a classic map of the world. To explain the dominance and relationships of these entities, they were all given a visual hierarchy that gives prominent treatment to companies with the most users (or sites with the most visitors), surrounding them with smaller countries representing related websites and services.

This poster includes one full map of the internet, 4 minimaps showcasing NSA surveillance, most used social networks, most used internet browser, and worldwide internet penetration, list of Alexa Top 500 websites, quick timeline of the Internet History, top software companies and much more!

The map includes more than 250 separate websites/enterprises as sovereign states, and more than 2000 separate labels.

A high-resolution version is available online, and you can also order 24” x 36” printed posters on Zazzle.

This what I call a 2nd level design, which means it’s a highly detailed design that is meant to present a ton of information to the audience.  This type of design isn’t trying to communicate a key message in a few seconds, but is intended for readers to zoom-in and explore.

Map of the Internet 2.0 Poster Zoom

 

Found on Business Insider

Tuesday
Feb112014

The "Perfectly Optimized" Page

 The Perfectly Optimized Page infographic

The “Perfectly Optimized” Page infographic states that there is no such thing as a “Perfect Page”. But don’t be discouraged! Moz.com presents 3 key points to be followed to increase user happiness and outreach.

One important takeaway from this post should be that modern on-page SEO is about juggling competing priorities. In general, my recommended ordering of those priorities is as follows:

  1. Create a page that is uniquely valuable to your targeted searchers.
  2. If at all possible, make the page likely to earn links and shares naturally (without needing to build links or prod people).
  3. Balance keyword targeting with usability and user experience, but never ignore the critical elements like page titles, headlines, and body content at the least.

There’s no such thing as a “perfectly optimized” page, but I took a stab at drawing up the mythical beast anyway.

Over time, what’s “perfect” might change, and new services, platforms, and areas of optimizational opportunity could arise. But for the past few years (notwithstanding some newer tactics like Google’s rel=author), the model described in this post has held relatively stable. The “O” in SEO is getting broader, and I think that’s a wonderful thing for marketers of all stripes. Targeting an algorithm instead of people is far worse than hitting both birds with the same handful of optimization stones.

This is a great us of infographics and data visualziations as part of a larger article.  The infographics can stand on their own and be shared online, but also fit inn perfectly with the text article.  This specific design is more of a blueprint diagram without showing and data, but has been very popular by itself.

Found on Hubspot.com and Hombrehormiga1

Monday
Feb102014

The Internet Map

The Internet Map is an interactive, zoomable design that uses a combination of algorithms and the Google Earth API to display 350,000 websites as sized circles representing their overall traffic.

Designed by Ruslan Enikeev, the color-coding shows the country affiliations.

Like any other map, The Internet map is a scheme displaying objects’ relative position; but unlike real maps (e.g. the map of the Earth) or virtual maps (e.g. the map of Mordor), the objects shown on it are not aligned on a surface. Mathematically speaking, The Internet map is a bi-dimensional presentation of links between websites on the Internet. Every site is a circle on the map, and its size is determined by website traffic, the larger the amount of traffic, the bigger the circle. Users’ switching between websites forms links, and the stronger the link, the closer the websites tend to arrange themselves to each other.

Semantic web

The map of the Internet is a photo shot of the global network as of end of 2011 (however, baloons show actual statistics from Alexa). It encompasses over 350 thousand websites from 196 countries and all domain zones. Information about more than 2 million links between the websites has joined some of them together into topical clusters. As one might have expected, the largest clusters are formed by national websites, i.e. sites belonging to one country. For the sake of convenience, all websites relative to a certain country carry the same color. For instance, the red zone at the top corresponds to Russian segment of the net, the yellow one on the left stands for the Chinese segment, the purple one on the right is Japanese, the large light-blue central one is the American segment, etc.

I even found Cool Infographics on the map!

Found on Fast Company

Monday
Jan062014

The Evolution of Reddit

The Evolution of Reddit Through Time infographic

The Evolution of Reddit Through Time infographic from Randal Olson.com covers the history of Reddit for the past 7 years. With thousands of active subreddits, the visual above displays the 24 most active. Track the popularity of each subreddit through the years!

The graph below shows how 24 of the most active subreddits have changed over time. I ordered the subreddits by the time that they first appeared on Reddit. I recommend zooming in so you can see it better.

(I should note that I purposely excluded /r/reddit.com from this graph because it dominates the entire graph until about 2008, then screws things up again when it got closed down in late 2011.)

The biggest thing that you may notice is that there were very few subreddits from 2006-2008. In fact, there was only one subreddit before 2006 (/r/reddit.com). The majority of the content in 2006-2008 was focused on more techie-friendly subjects: programming, science, politics, entertainment, and gaming. Major subreddits dedicated to solely picture and video content started becoming popular in mid-2008, and even then their posts only comprised less than 1/4 of Reddit’s content. It wasn’t until 2011 did the picture-related subreddits really start taking over, and Reddit never looked back after that.

This graph covers so many changes in the Reddit community that it can’t explain what happened by itself. In the following sections, I will take a closer look at how the Reddit community evolved on a year-by-year basis.

Love these data visualizations of the reddit’s evolution over time from Randy, a 3rd year Computer Science graduate research assistant at Michigan State University.  In his original post, he actually visualizes each year separately, and you can see some major milestones and clear changes in the reddit universe.

The Great /r/reddit.com Spike of 2009

The total growth of reddit over the years is lost in the 100% Stacked Area chart; however, you can clearly see the growth of subreddit content as a portion of the whole.

Found on Flowing Data!