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Quickview: Create Your Own Infographics

Creating an informative graphic lets you share complex information in a visually appealing way.

Bill Winterberg, 01/24/2013

How do you clearly communicate changes in tax law that affect your clients? Or what about the impact of Gamma--the extra income an investor can earn by making better financial decisions--on your clients' portfolio (see: Morningstar Announces New Retirement Income Research)?

If you're looking for a different way to communicate complex topics to clients and prospects, try using that data to create an infographic.

An infographic, a mashup of the words information and graphic, is a visual graphic that presents data and information in a compelling medium. Because they are effective in illustrating trends, comparisons, and statistics, infographics are increasingly more common on all kinds of websites.

Some examples of infographics used in financial services come from Mint.com, illustrating trends in charitable giving and statistics on how consumers are paying off debt.

If you would like to present data to clients and prospects in a similar fashion, you have several options among free and low-cost services. Infographic programs include EasellyVisually, and Inforgram.

Most of these infographic services work in very similar fashion. Once signed in, you first select a template for your graphic from a variety of layouts (e.g., bar graphs, pie charts, icons, etc.). Then you input your data for the graphic, typically done using a spreadsheet layout. Next you customize your infographic's title, color scheme, size, and other characteristics. Finally, you publish your infographic online (typically on the website of the service you selected) and distribute links to your infographic through social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Give one or more of these sites a try and see how you can use data that might otherwise be hard to interpret by presenting it with infographics. And if you do, feel free to share links to your infographics in the comments below.

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Bill Winterberg, CFP, is a technology and operations consultant to independent financial advisors. His comments on technology have been featured in a variety of financial industry publications. You can view more information about Bill and see his schedule of upcoming speaking engagements at his Web site, FPPad.com. The author is a freelance contributor to MorningstarAdvisor.com. The views expressed in this article may or may not reflect the views of Morningstar.

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