Whether in school or work, we’ve all sat through countless presentations – some quite engaging, but others – pretty painful. Chances are, some of those were painful because of how the data was presented – in massive tables and hard-to-read graphs that lacked a compelling story. Many presenters believe that “the numbers speak for themselves” and that the audience will automatically follow the speaker’s logic.
But this assumption is dangerous and does a huge disservice to data, massively hindering its potential.
At its best, data can provide very powerful support for your message. It can persuade people to think, feel – and ultimately, act differently. But letting it tell a story is key.
A great way to do so is turning data into an infographic – and better yet, an animated infographic, if you really want to stand out. This is a visual depiction of your data that is animated along with your story. This guides your audience through your data in an engaging way so they easily follow your story flow.
Let me show you three great examples around the web. As you watch, imagine how much more impact these have than if you saw the same data in plain tables and charts.
1. Global Air Traffic This series of animated graphs from RightColours shows global air traffic. While the concept is fairly simple, it shows how animating a fairly standard (though nice-looking!) line graph enables the audience to follow the story step-by-step.
2. The Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen Hans Rosling’s renowned TED talk shows the incredible power of animated data combined with passionate storytelling from the presenter. While the animated graphics he uses are in plain bubble chart form, the added motion and the storytelling makes for a truly unforgettable presentation.
3. NYC’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions This incredible infographic from CarbonVisuals shows a bubble chart on steroids. The bubbles are actually spheres floating in a 3D model of New York City, a useful reference point to make the data even more tangible and compelling.
As you can see, these examples demonstrate how various animated infographics can really spice up your data to create a truly memorable visual experience. So what are some ways to create them?
While there are many tools like Canva for static infographics, animated ones require programs with motion capability. In addition to the usual industry giants like After Effects or Cinema 4D, you can also use simpler options (which I prefer) like CrazyTalk Animator 2 or even good old PowerPoint (or both together!).
For those who want professional effects with a simple-to-use program, CrazyTalk Animator 2 is a great option. Not only do you have a range of characters you can use with their system, but their G2 Power Tools Vol.3 TOTALLY SYMBOLS pack, is loaded with premade characters, charts, and effects so you can create fun, engaging animations like those shown below. You can also export the animated pieces as GIFs or videos to PowerPoint and mix and match with PowerPoint’s animation effects too.
G2 Power Tools Vol.3 TOTALLY SYMBOLS pack Demo Video: Animated Symbols for Infographics
PowerPoint itself is actually a great tool for infographics as well. For a very simple infographic, for example, just add some visuals to your usual graphs and use subtle animation effects like Wipe and Fade to make the graph unfold as you tell your story. With a bit of creativity, you get some pretty amazing results, such as this animated infographic by my favorite PowerPoint design house, SOAP Presentations:
Whatever approach you use, you can be sure that animated infographics will better engage your audience. As we have seen, data can be very compelling, but we must unlock its potential by using it as part of a story.
So next time you have a data-rich presentation coming up, try out an animated infographic – and you’ll surely leave a powerful, lasting impression on your audience.
Hi there, I’m Lia. I’m a management consultant by day, and by night, I showcase PowerPoint animation tricks on my Spicy Presentations blog and YouTube Channel. My goal is to inspire people around the world to make their presentations more fun and engaging – one trick at a time.