Fortunately many tools have appeared that help even the artistic impaired people like me to not fail too badly.
Creating infographics to me involve three parts
1) Pulling out the data you need from various library systems
2) Creating interesting infographic "objects" (images, charts, visualizations)
3) Organizing everything in a interesting structure
I am decently well versed in the first step and can happily pull library data from Google Analytics, Primo Analytics, Alma Analytics etc so this part wasn't the problem.
For the organization of the infographic, I kept it simple and used one of the numerous templates available.
So the last part involved doing charts and other visualizations of the data I had extracted. While Excel has become increasingly capable at creating all types of charts (Excel 2013 has donut charts, radar charts, combo charts etc while Excel 2016 adds histograms, treemaps, waterfall, sunburst, Box & Whisker, Pareto and more ) , there are still some typical visualizations used in infographics that Excel can't do and this is where the online infographics makers come into play.
In particular a very common visualization commonly used is to show X people in Y type statistics.
Another similar visualization often seen is to represent a percentage by shading proportionally an icon.
While it's possible to create the above by hand using say powerpoint , it can be pretty exhausting. This is where the free online tools help.
I tried the free versions of Infogr.am , Piktochart and Venngage and these are my impressions.
Infogr.am - good for more than 2 categories
Infogram has the usual charts and visualizations you expect and also some less commonly used ones like Treemap, Bubble , Hierarchy etc
But it is the Pictorial ones that are interesting to me.
Pictorial bar is the down right easy way to visualize X in Y type of images.
For example, if you want to show say 1 in 4 history students visit the library daily, it looks like this.
You can easily change the colors by editing the data , then clicking settings
You can also change the shape of the icon, to say a female icon or any of the preset ones. The selection is very limited though compared to others for the free version.
What if you want to create a visualization of three or more categories? Say you want to show of 10 students who visit the library, three are from business, five are from history and two are from Science?
For that you use the Pictorial chart.
I admit that I am puzzled that when I first enter the data by default it gives me a row of icons that are 12 by 24 = 288 icons.
If you fiddle around with other switches such as turning off the "round values" and using the "absolute distributions", you can see some of the icons are partly filled.
But still I wonder what's the point, why such a weird distribution of 12x24, I may have missed something but I can't change this distribution to something more sane like 10x10 to get a "For every 100 students...."
In any case, you can always turn on the "actual" switch, to get the exact number of icons you included.
Do also check out the Gauge , Progress bar or Size visualizations but in general Infogram visualizations are fairly simple compared to the ones below.
Pikochart - upload your own icons
Venngage - my favourite
The way to do so in Vennage is a bit hidden. First go to charts (on left), scroll down and select Icon chart .
Most of these tools are also capable of creating map visualizations something I didn't try this time.
I am obviously still a beginner at this, so any corrections, comments and tips are welcome.