How to apply SEO and accessibility to infographics and comics

How to apply SEO and accessibility to infographics and comics

I’m a long time fan of infographics as they can provide a truly engaging way to present data in a visual and easy-to-understand way. I feel the same way about comics as a similar format to convey information with the additional benefit of creating empathy with your audience while educating and entertaining them. However, all that text in graphics is a big no-no. Be mindful of SEO and people using assistive devices such as screen readers, text-to-speech for people with cognitive impairment, and refreshable Braille devices, when posting infographics and comics. Currently, search engines can’t read and index text in images. And people using accessible devices rely on webmasters to take the time to properly describe images. There are two things you can do to fulfil this… 1. Talk about your graphic Add an intro paragraph or an outro paragraph. As long as it’s descriptive of the information in the graphic. In web accessibility circles, this is known as providing a “long text alternative”. Use the keywords your audience is using and other SEO best practices. This way, Google will be satisfied and most importantly, people using assistive devices can enjoy your content. As of this writing, Google likes to give higher rankings to pages with at least 300 words. That may sound like a lot of text to introduce a comic or infographic but really, the quality of your content is what matters now. So make sure your content is worth your audience’s attention in the first place! 2. Use ALT and TITLE tags to their full potential It’s important to fill in those ALT and TITLE tags your...
How to ensure your infographics and comics aren’t cut off in news feeds

How to ensure your infographics and comics aren’t cut off in news feeds

That infographic, comic, or other kind of visual you want to post on social networks that you or your team worked on and can’t wait to unleash to the world… may only end up getting parts cut off across social networks. Unfortunately, each social network (and app – they have their own dimensions, too) has its own dimensions for showing visuals in news feeds making it a little time consuming for content producers to have to retrofit visuals so users across networks see what they need to see. Especially any wording.   This is important because a golden rule of user experience design is never expect/assume users will click on your fascinating content without knowing what to expect. They may not think it’s as fascinating as you do. So if part of your promo copy has been cut off on a Twitter feed, your promo will look ugly and incomplete. Not your fault of course. It just makes your hard work a little less engaging. Fortunately, someone has found a one-size-fits-all template. Until the next time social networks and apps make new, quick changes to their sizing. But for now, check out this brilliant post, One Image to Rule Them All: Size Specs to Work Across Social Media, Garrett Heath of Rackspace Digital. It offers a template that works for most major social networks. I gave it a try for the most recent campaign that I ran and it worked like a charm. Show the best part of a long infographic Keep in mind that the dimensions used on social networks tend to be rectangular and horizontal (or square like...
How to use comics to engage your audience

How to use comics to engage your audience

I’ve been drawing newspaper style comics since I was a little kid. I’d create my own characters and send them off on misadventures. In high school, I created Spud, who would later become the protagonist in my Super Spud comic. I drew all my Spud comics in a notebook and showed them to my classmates after a comic was finished. While my drawing skills weren’t exceptional and my plots were silly and simple, my classmates enjoyed my work very much and always asked when Spud will go on his next adventure. I regularly drew recurring and my favourites were parodies of popular culture and when Spud depicted the typical issues of my fellow students (and teachers). In other words, my comics resonated with my audience. “People love comics about their work problems” This quote comes from the fantastic ebook, The Awesome Adventures of Megacorps Marketers (or: How To Use Comics in B2B Content Marketing), by Radix Communications. Founder Fiona Campbell-Howes explains that using comics as a visual medium can create empathy with your audience. “It’s all about the story. Drawing the audience in creating characters they identify with in a world they recognize showing we understand their problems”. This is why, for example, a comic strip like Dilbert has been popular among cubicle dwellers and Family Circus and For Better or For Worse has been popular with families. “And with luck, we also make them laugh” Humour can form a great connection with your audience. In fact, humour is one of the winning ingredients for engaging with your audience on social networks. Of course, comics can also tug at...

Content lessons from the Corner Gas Movie

I’m a huge fan of Corner Gas who watches his DVDs over and over. I’m not usually a fan of tv shows being turned into movies but couldn’t pass up the chance to watch the Corner Gas movie. Maybe it will turn out right? Thankfully, it did! I can sum up Corner Gas: The Movie as an unconventional movie experience. And it was refreshing. Because something unique was done. A few unique things, actually. And that’s what can make your content stand out, no matter the medium or format. 1. A very short theatre run It was only in theatres for 5 days in select theatres. At first I thought this was a little strange. Why go to all that production trouble just for a week of showings? Then I pondered if it had anything to do with budget or perhaps Canadian movies having a hard time competing with American ones. Or maybe there was a positive reason? Read on… 2. Quick DVD release The DVD is set to release the week after as will digital downloads. 3. 20 minute warm up before the movie started Instead of sitting through 20 minutes or more of commercials for movies, cell phones, bank services, and cars I’m not in the market to buy, Brent Butt treated us to his comedy, really funny Corner Gas trivia games (many in the theatre including myself laughed out loud), bloopers and even a section where he asked the audience to snap photos and tag with #CornerGasMovie for a Selfies For Swag contest. The latter was genius. It was cool to see photos of my fellow Corner Gas...

NASA’s cool ABC’s of Orion

Photo credit: NASA How do you engage an audience on the many complexities of designing a spacecraft to send people to outer space? With infographics, of course! And not those wordy ones. The pictogram kind. Coinciding with upcoming test flight of the Orion spacecraft on December 4, 2014, @NASASocial tweeted a pictogram for each letter of the alphabet corresponding to a feature of the new vehicle every ten minutes. #Orion from A to Z: A is for Apogee. Apogee is the point in an elliptical orbit when farthest from Earth pic.twitter.com/L3q8TB1mj3 — NASA Social (@NASASocial) November 29, 2014 #Orion from A to Z: B is for Beyond: Orion is designed for deep space missions to go beyond Earth’s orbit pic.twitter.com/OUlJNDQqjr — NASA Social (@NASASocial) November 29, 2014 #Orion from A to Z: C is for Crew Module: a home for our astronauts on board with living space & supply storage pic.twitter.com/X8Yl133aZj — NASA Social (@NASASocial) November 29, 2014 And what beautiful, simple graphics they are! I especially like the tag cloud like collage at the top. Graphics like these are always great way to quickly and simply illustrate the many fascinating details about a concept. In this case, something completely outside of everyday life. NASA’s Orion spacecraft is designed to take humans farther out in space including Mars and asteroids. It will also sustain the crew during the travel, and be used to return to Earth. Just like during the Apollo missions in the 1960s! In fact, I’m wondering if their choice of using pictograms could be related to a theme of lunar landing retro? If so, I think...

Design for the user. The user isn’t you.

It is too easy to assume that whatever it is we’re about to post is earth-shattering fantastic, but that doesn’t mean our audience will think so, too. They are interacting with our websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, YouTube channels, or whathaveyou, to solve a problem. Be it finding a specific product for their home, information about a school course, making a donation, finding the time when a bus will arrive, whatever it is that drives a person to search or browse somewhere in your digital footprint in the first place. Thus – 1. Design for the user 2. The user isn’t you I first read these two golden rules on a blog about user experience design back in the early 2000s during my web design days (unfortunately, I can’t find the name of the blog nor link to give proper credit). These rules can be directly applied to content marketing. Actually, anything we create for online consumption. 1. Create content for the user. The user isn’t you. Like I said, it’s our job as members of the digital team (content creators, content marketers, communicators, etc.) to make it easy for our users to solve their problems. We need to simply ask ourselves, “Will our users find this fantastic earth-shattering thing useful?”. And answer it through the eyes of the members of your personas/target audience. For instance, when I worked at a hospital for kids with disabilities, I’d ask myself “how would this piece of content [a photo, a link to a page on our website, the wording of a tweet] help me if I were a parent with a child with...