Creating slick infographics can add a professional touch to a web site, blog, classroom bulletin board, or presentation.
I decided to try out one tool currently in beta testing: Easel.ly. Playing on the double meaning of both an art easel and the desire to create an infographic easily, this site allows users to create an account (e-mail address and password only) and either start from scratch or modify an existing template example.
Now, I should admit: I approach all new Web 2.0 tools from a “how well can I muddle through intuitively?” angle. I don’t tend to read the how-to pages or FAQs, mainly because I know most users don’t. The best social media options, in my mind, are those that people can figure out with only moderate frustration.
I started from an existing infographic on social media use. It was relatively simple to double-click on the text boxes and to delete / add my own words, although I had to use the space bar to create a centered paragraph style. I played with the objects option and found a satisfyingly robust clipart collection to make all sorts of pictographs: arrows, balloons, athletes, silhouettes, etc. I even uploaded my own image that I already had modified in Photoshop to match the grayscale of the existing logos. Embedding the file into this blog was extremely easy, perhaps because Easel.ly interfaces with WordPress.
So here’s the results of my labors. In the end I probably spent 45 minutes total on the infographic; it might have been less had I viewed instructional videos and it certainly would have been far more if I hadn’t kept so much of the original template.
My review? If you’re patient with tweaking and clicking and dragging, Easel.ly should work.