I recently stumbled across a new service called Infogr.am. I got pretty excited as we now have some simple data visualization tools available for free use. I got to work testing it out displaying some data from our video work from the past year. Here is what I found.
Infogr.am’s data visualization allows for easy illustration of data, data editing and sharing. The interactive widgets are built to embed on websites and blogs with ease. Arriving at the site, I chose to connect the app to my Twitter account. The user page is delightfully minimal. Simple buttons to your profile, creating infographics, visiting your library and upgrading your account are the only visible options.
The creator tool is the real bones of this service. Six similar templates offer starting points for the development of your own custom infographics. Selecting a template opens up the creator and an opportunity to build from a modest selection of graphs, maps and text modules. Photos are allowed, PNGs with transparent backgrounds are a nice feature. Videos also are embeddable with YouTube and Vimeo platform supports.
Certain features make me feel this web app should still be in beta. Live graph updates seem to work but sometimes require a page refresh. Cell functionality in the spreadsheet system does not seem very consistent. There are also some issues with text entries being deleted rather sporadically. These issues seemed to be apparent in Safari, Firefox and Chrome, though Chrome did seem to have the most stable support.
Having more than 30 chart types is perhaps the single greatest feature of Infogr.am. There are a lot of strong uses of each of these. Some big brands are already taking advantage of the service, and you can see some innovative uses already. The map is a nice addition, but I would say the feature requires the ability to narrow down to states, provinces and cities before it is useful. There is a nice countdown widget that could be very useful. Auto-saving is almost a given in this age of web applications, so I’m glad to see that.
The embed options allow for both fixed (iframe) and responsive (.js) insertions – a very nice option. The share functions of each infographic are acceptable but confusing. The site expectedly posts links via Twitter to the infographic’s public URL; but it offers only a square thumbnail preview to Pinterest and no visual whatsoever to Facebook posts. At the bottom of each infographic, you gain the option of Google+, but you can only decide between one social share button per infographic. This incongruent approach is almost obnoxious and will hopefully be fixed over time.
Have you played around with this cool tool? Tell us your thoughts and share your infographics in the comments below or tweet them at #mcgblog.