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Abstract

Infographics is an abbreviated term for an information graphic. Information is presented in a logical manner, similar to storytelling, using data visualisations, text and pictures.1 Statistically, the most successful infographics, in terms of number of ‘shares’ on social media, contain an average of 396 words2 and a combination of data visualisations (bar graphs, line graphs and pie charts) and illustrations. Although 396 words may seem like an inadequate amount of text for researchers to convey their findings comprehensively, when considering this in the infographics context, the saying, ‘a picture tells a thousand words’, comes to mind. Three days after learning new information, we are likely to remember up to 6.5 times more through learning from an infographic than by reading text alone.1 Many industries, such as the business, food, …
Why healthcare professionals should
know a little about infographics
Hilary Scott,
1,2
Samantha Fawkner,
1
Chris Oliver,
1
Andrew Murray
1,3
Infographics is an abbreviated term for an
information graphic. Information is pre-
sented in a logical manner, similar to
storytelling, using data visualisations, text
and pictures.
1
Statistically, the most suc-
cessful infographics, in terms of number
of shareson social media, contain an
average of 396 words
2
and a combination
of data visualisations (bar graphs, line
graphs and pie charts) and illustrations.
Although 396 words may seem like an
inadequate amount of text for researchers
to convey their ndings comprehensively,
when considering this in the infographics
context, the saying, a picture tells a thou-
sand words, comes to mind. Three days
after learning new information, we are
likely to remember up to 6.5 times more
through learning from an infographic
than by reading text alone.
1
Many indus-
tries, such as the business, food, nance
and healthcare sectors, as well as politics,
make use of infographics, as does physical
activity promotion. Infographics can be
used as decision-aids and to make
complex topics more easily understood by
members of the public.
However, the impact and accuracy of
existing infographics are highly variable.
Many are published on social media
once or twice, then quickly forgotten.
Successful infographics should be part of
a well thought out dissemination plan,
and if shared and reshared repeatedly on
social media, their use will build campaign
impact and increase audience reach. The
more people who see an infographic, the
more it can be talked about and its key
messages shared. As healthcare profes-
sionals and researchers, we are good at
creating content, but perhaps we could
gain by making the information engaging,
widely seen and sticky, like the hit video
23½ hours (worth a watch if you have
not already seen it).
3
In the UK, adults are not as physically
active as those in other European
countries, and we thus seek successful
strategies to disseminate key messages
from our physical activity policies.
4
An
infographic designed by the UKs Chief
Medical Ofcers (CMOs) was launched in
2015 to accompany the physical activity
guidelines document Start Active, Stay
Active,rst published in 2011
5
(gure 1).
This infographic is an excellent example
of transmitting a message and engaging
the reader through a three-step process of
raising awareness,changing and challen-
ging attitudesand providing a call to
actionfor individuals to change their
behaviour and become more physically
active.
6
Initial distribution of the CMOs
infographic was aimed at doctors, nurses,
general practitioner surgeries, charities
and allied health professionals, but a
wider audience has been reached through
digital transmission via social media and
the use of the hashtag #sitlessmove-
more.
7
A second infographic outlining
physical activity recommendations for
children and young people was launched
in March 2016 (gure 2).
Health infographics are designed to
stimulate the following responses from
readers—‘attention, comprehension, recall
and adherence.
8
The design of the
CMOsinfographic was set out in clear
terms, allowing members of the public to
understand its message without requiring
explanation from health professionals as
it did not contain complex medical
terminology.
A SUCCESSFUL INFOGRAPHIC GETS
PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT ITS
MESSAGE AND SHARING IT MORE
WIDELY
An infographic succeeds if people feel
their attention drawn to it and are able to
comprehend the information presented.
They may consider behaviour change
themselves, and/or share the messages with
their networks. Infographics can build a
bridge between lay people and health pro-
fessionals, and help important points to be
better understood and acted on.
In short, the infographic is a helpful
tool for communicating key messages
clearly, changing attitudes and even chal-
lenging people to change behaviours or
the way they think. Perhaps each research
paper should produce an infographic!
Twitter Follow Christopher Oliver at @CyclingSurgeon
and Andrew Murray at @docandrewmurray
Acknowledgements The authors would like to
acknowledge the ideas and insights of Paul Kelly,
Graham Baker and colleagues at the University of
Edinburgh.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned;
externally peer reviewed.
Figure 1 UK Chief Medical Ofcer adult
guidelines infographic 2015, used as the cover
for British Journal of Sports Medicine, March
2016.
Figure 2 Infographic for children and young
people.
1
Physical Activity for Health Research Centre, University
of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK;
2
Robert Gordons
University, Aberdeen, UK;
3
Department of Sport and
Exercise, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
Correspondence to Dr Andrew Murray, Physical
Activity for Health Research Centre, 2.33 St Leonards
Land, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 8AO,
UK; docandrewmurray@googlemail.com
1104 Br J Sports Med September 2016 Vol 50 No 18
Editorials
group.bmj.com on June 26, 2017 - Published by http://bjsm.bmj.com/Downloaded from
To cite Scott H, Fawkner S, Oliver C, et al.Br J Sports
Med 2016;50:11041105.
Accepted 27 May 2016
Published Online First 17 June 2016
Br J Sports Med 2016;50:11041105.
doi:10.1136/bjsports-2016-096133
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Br J Sports Med September 2016 Vol 50 No 18 1105
Editorials
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little about infographics
Why healthcare professionals should know a
Hilary Scott, Samantha Fawkner, Chris Oliver and Andrew Murray
doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-096133
2016 2016 50: 1104-1105 originally published online June 17,Br J Sports Med
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... For summarizing medical information, the audience preferred infographics (Martin et al., 2019), especially in a digital setting, because they can boost engagement and facilitate information processing. An infographic can be used to clearly communicate vital messages, shift attitudes, and even challenge individuals to modify their habits or ways of thinking (Scott et al., 2016). Participants in the infographic condition demonstrated better confidence in their judgments than those in the control condition (Domgaard & Park, 2021). ...
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What makes infographics go viral
  • I Ahmad
AhmadI.What makes infographics go viral [infographic].
Launch of physical activity infographic for children and young people (5-18)
  • C Calderwood
Calderwood C. Launch of physical activity infographic for children and young people (5-18). 11 March 2016. http://blogs.scotland.gov.uk/cmo/ 2016/03/11/launch-of-physical-activity-infographicfor-children-and-young-people-5-18/ (accessed 9 Apr 2016).
Cool infographics: effective communication with data visualization and design
  • R Krum
Krum R. Cool infographics: effective communication with data visualization and design. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2013.
23 and ½ hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?
  • M Evans
Evans M. 23 and ½ hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health? [Online video]. 2 December 2011. https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=aUaInS6HIGo (accessed 1 Feb 2016).
Do physical activity infographics, report cards and policies influence behaviour? Sport Exerc Sci
  • M Murphy
  • N Cavill
Murphy M, Cavill N. Do physical activity infographics, report cards and policies influence behaviour? Sport Exerc Sci 2015.
Department of Health Start Active, Stay Active: a report on physical activity from the four home countries' Chief Medical Officers
  • Great Britain
Great Britain. Department of Health. Start Active, Stay Active: a report on physical activity from the four home countries' Chief Medical Officers. London: Department of Health, 2011.
Do physical activity infographics, report cards and policies influence behaviour?
  • Murphy