The general impression from the IV10 conference was average, it was different than we expected it to be. It was much more scientific, there was little real-world examples, but many theoretical thoughts. In general, each report was a brief thesis to a doctor dissertation. The term «information visualization» scientific world community understands much broader than infographics is. For them, we made information look better, as they are for us — the inapplicable to life theorists on the visualization of databases, the researchers of art (information-carrying medium), etc.
It made us view at the sphere we are working in a little broader. But the conference brought less inspiration than DD4D did last year. Most likely we will publish only 3 reports as the results of this trip.
It’s proved! Infographics works!
There was an interesting report from MBA student of Swiss University — Sebastan Kernbach, under the leadership of Martin J. Eppler (Managing Director, Media and communications management at University of St. Gallen (HSG). Martin, generally, is very active participant in the market of visual communications. He also owns a few sites:
They conducted an experiment: they took the real strategy of BMW (containing the 3 areas of improvements with the final goal of 7.5 million in contracts), and presented it in 3 possible ways:
- The usual text in PowerPoint
- Metaphor — a mountain, to the top of which companies should get
- RoadMap – block-like diagram of the objectives
After that, they presented this strategy to three groups of MBA students (which is quite a high-level managers). To each group is shown only one option. For the purity of the experiment, the presenter was the same for each presentation, with one and the same text for 10 minutes time.
Then, students completed the questionnaire with mass of indicators on understandability, memorability, and etc. After that — they left the room for a group discussion, came back, and completed another questionnaire.
And finally! It has been empirically proven — infographics helps! Even in serious business tasks the image and perception make life easier.
Options 2 and 3 have won, based on number of indicators:
- Attention of the audience;
- Agreement on presented business strategy inside the group of these students;
- Information was easier to remember;
- Presenter got higher points for its presentation skills (but as you remember the text and presenter was the same for each case).
By understanding the information, all three got the same results (but if a strategy has more digits, then, again, the result would be in favor of infographics).
RoadMap and Metaphor work equally effectively, but for some cultures, the «landscape» is less acceptable for business communications. In this case, they recommend to make a choice on the format based on national preferences of the audience.
In my memory — this is the first real evidence, that INFOGRAPHICS not just entertains the viewer, but it really WORKS.
The original presentation you can see below — the authors have laid for themselves some possible improvements for future experiments (presenter’s voice can be taped, to prevent any personal influence on the result; the audience should be more diverse).