How to make a data visualisation with Infogr.am

organic market report 2014Infogr.am is a free online tool that helps you make quick and beautiful interactive data visualisations like the one I prepared for my online journalism blog. Its interface is intuitive and user-friendly, and majority of tools is drag-and-drop, which makes Infogr.am so easy to operate.

The first step is to choose your data and plan on what you want to present in your interactive visualisation. I opted for a data set from the Organic Market Report 2014 compiled by the Soil Association (available on demand).

Once you sign up to Infogr.am and start your creative process, you are invited to choose one of the ready-made templates:

infogram

Choose a colour palate that you want to go for and click “Use design”. A dashboard with editable elements appears to which you can add a chart, a map, a text, a photo or a video from the menu on the right.

infogram

Double-click on each element to edit it: change text or open a chart menu. First, give a title to your visualisation. Edit the existing chart or add a new one – make sure you choose the right type of chart for the type of data you have. Double-click on the chart. An Excel-like spreadsheet appears where you can paste your data:

infogramAfter the final tweaks to your data, go to the second tab “Settings”. Depending on the chart you chose, you will find here different editing options: colours, directions, chart’s size and other.

infogram

Pay close attention to how you manipulate your chart. It is important that it present the data in a clear and easily understandable way.

After you have finished adjusting your chart, click “Done” and go on to add more elements to your visualisation.

Infogr.am is a a great tool especially for beginners in data-driven journalism, yet it has a couple of major limitations:

  1. It is impossible to copy-paste text to and from text boxes, which makes typing time-consuming and rather laborious.
  2. As you manipulate the data in the Excel-like spreadsheet, the preview of the chart is unavailable, which makes you save and re-edit the chart a couple of times before you achieve the effect you want.
  3. It would be useful to be able to caption the charts directly, as opposed to having to add chart titles and captions as separate elements to your visualisation.
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