Healthcare infographics: 6 Tips for Doing Them Right

Aren’t infographics just wonderful? It’s nice to see that more healthcare organizations are using them to educate patients and promote their services. But are you doing it correctly? Here are 6 tips to keep in mind:

CCHealthcareinfographics6TipsforDoingThemRight01

The best types of content for infographics use small chunks of information to convey the message. This usually eliminates content that needs narration—like bios and patient stories. Obviously, complex topics that include a lot of numbers, definitions, and short ‘how to’ steps work great for infographics.

That said, don’t let that stop you from using mini-infographics in your more narrative content. They’re a nice way to break up long blocks of text or pull out bits of information without interrupting the flow of the content.

CCHealthcareinfographics6TipsforDoingThemRight02

Typically a graphic designer will create the infographic as one huge image. Then the marketing team uploads that image to their website. That might give the designer more creative license, and it’s certainly easier for you—but guess what: That’s really unfair to people on mobile devices.

Here’s what’ll happen: A visitor to your blog or landing page will come to your infographic on an iPhone, for example. The infographic will then get shrunk down to unreadable proportions just to fit the small screen. Now, your poor reader is left squinting, pinching and zooming just to read the infographic’s text.

The better way to do it is to break the infographic into several smaller jpegs. Any standalone text should be copied and pasted as text into your content management system. Then, you assemble the images and text in your CMS to look the way the designer intended—this text goes on top of this graphic, these two graphics go side by side, this graphic goes to the right of this chunk of text.

Yes, this is more work for you. But it’s also less work for your reader, and that’s the priority.

Because your site is responsive, the text and images should reconfigure into a nice single column design that’s easy to scroll through.

Here’s an example of one of my favorite healthcare infographics from Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha.

CCHealthcareinfographics6TipsforDoingThemRight03

Google doesn’t read images. It can only rely on tags that tell it what the image is about so it can be indexed accordingly. So, another benefit of assembling an infographic as a mixture of text and images is that it gives the search engines a chance to crawl the text. Plus, instead of one big image, you’ve got several images. Put alt tags on all of them. This gives your infographic more opportunities to rank.
CCHealthcareinfographics6TipsforDoingThemRight04

Yes, numbers and stats lend themselves very well to infographics. But I’m seeing too many infographics that are just a hodgepodge of stats and icons. At the end I’m left thinking, “so what?” Infographics should still tell a story. The stats and numbers should explain that story and support the main point.

I must say Time magazine did an awesome job with this for their infographic about healthcare costs. The design doesn’t work well on mobile devices, but they did a good job of making sure every bit of information supports the content’s main point.

CCHealthcareinfographics6TipsforDoingThemRight05

Adding quotes is a great way to break up an infographic that’s too dense with numbers. Why not include sound bites from your clinicians to add some insight to those numbers?

If your infographic is about the rise in prediabetes diagnoses, why not add a quick line from your diabetes educator about what’s contributing to the uptick? You can even throw her headshot in there to make it more personal.

Related: 6 Clinicians To Include in Healthcare Marketing Content (Besides Doctors)

CCHealthcareinfographics6TipsforDoingThemRight06

I haven’t done any empirical research on this, but my theory is that adding infographics could decrease the amount of time people spend on that particular landing page or blog post.

Here’s why: It takes less time to digest visual information than it does to read through the same information in paragraph form. A complex topic that would normally take someone several minutes to read through, might only take them 2 minutes if they’re scanning it as an infographic.

If you’ve followed the advice in step 2, then they’ll really whip through the content because all they have to do is scroll. So if you notice that your landing pages and blog posts with infographics are getting a shorter length of attention, don’t panic. That could be a sign that you’re doing it right.