Review of the Best Infographics Platforms

Infographics have become a good way of disseminating public data in a visually compelling medium. We also think they can be a good way to get business data in the hands of non-analysts, in a format that makes it easy to understand the story behind the data. There are a lot of tools available via the cloud and a number of them are suitable for blogs or internal reports. We’ve reviewed four ‘free’ tools today.

1. Infogr.am

Getting started is super easy and the user interface is well designed. It’s really interactive infographic-centred rather than data-centred – you start with one of 6 templates/styles, then add in your data and comments. The templates are well designed but with limited customisation, making them simple for non-designers to use.

Infogr.am could be a good free tool for creating a public one-off chart to embed or share on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. The privacy controls are limited so it’s better suited to visualising data and infographics for public use.

http://infogr.am/

2. Venngage

An infographic tool developed by the team from Visual.ly – an online dataviz sharing community, which aims to make reports easier for analysts who don’t want to install expensive software. There’s a free demo mode with most functionality, but the Professional version offers export options and the ability to publish documents privately. It also allows you to use connections to Social Media analytics with some standard report templates set up.

In my experience all the features you’d want appear to be available, but there were a few bugs with data uploads that affected my ability to demo the tool.

http://venngage.com/

3. Easel.ly

The UI of the tool is easy to navigate and quick to adjust to. It offers a number of layout options, including specific mobile and landscape sizes. Easel.ly has a good library of scaleable graphics including backgrounds, shapes and vector icons. You can download as a jpg or share a link to the image with private/public sharing options.

However, unlike some other cloud infographic tools, it doesn’t have the ability to input tables of data into specified charts, so you’ll need to create bar charts and scale your visuals by hand. This might not be an issue for the more creatively driven user for but for accurate charts and ease of use, not having standard chart formats is an obstacle for creating templates or updating the underlying data in the future.

This tool is free but only available in beta, so it’s possible that more functionality might be added in the future that improves its usefulness in producing ongoing reports, so it’s one to keep an eye on.

http://www.easel.ly/

4. Piktochart

This cloud tool has recently been re-developed and has a lot of functionality. It has good control over all visual elements including layout, fonts, backgrounds and so on. Piktochart comes complete with a big library of scalable vector icons as part of the free version, with more available on the Professional plan. It accomodates simple charts and can import summary data from CSV files.

The free templates are fairly simple but not as constrained as Infogr.am – they are starting points for developing your infographic, rather than a straightjacket with limited options. As with Venngage, having a lot of user freedom could mean it’s easier to break the ‘fundamental laws’ of good design, but there is a much bigger range of templates available in the Pro version. The templates get you started in the right direction.

http://piktochart.com/

Our pick?

Piktochart is the tool we think fits our needs for infographic design, based on good functionality and ease of use, lots of customisation in visuals, layout control and good value fromboth the free and professional versions.

Have you got any good infographic tools we missed? Leave a comment and we’ll check it out.

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