Infographics, or Information Graphics, are visual representations of specific information in a way that can be clearly understood by the general audience.
For example, think in a railway map like the one you can find in the London underground. It is an infographic created to inform the masses about the existing railway stations in the city, the different lines that connect them, which stations link to the different lines and which the different tarification areas present in the railway system. All of this information is presented in a simple format of names, color lines and dots.
A more complex example? Think in the weather maps used on the tv news. They represent a type of information more complex than the above, but their format is still simple and accessible.
The information contained in an infographic can be varied: ideas, general knowledge, processes, patterns or data. An infographic can be based on a single idea or condense large amounts of information bits or data. Either way, their purpose is to enhance the understanding of information, and the reason why they are effective is because human brain can process images faster than text.
The infographic above is part of a series of four possible scenarios that could occur as a consequence of Climate Change effects on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. This series was produced for James Cook University & National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Australia, based on their scientific outcomes and included in the report “How the Great Barrier Reef and its industries can adapt to climate change: some scenarios” (Evans LS, Fidelman P, Hicks C, Perry A, Tobin R (2011). How the Great Barrier Reef and its Industries Can Adapt to Climate Change: Some Scenarios. Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Fishing and Fisheries Research Centre, and National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility. 28 pp)