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Piktochart: simple infographic creator online for the busy professional

Making data easy to consume is the goal of infographics, but as they have risen in popularity, businesses struggle to keep up and often create embarrassingly ugly visualizations. It doesn’t have to be that way – with Piktochart and 16 other alternatives, any professional can create stunning visualizations.

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Rise of the visualizations

Businesses of all sizes are taking advantage of the increasingly available web tools to better present information visually, be it at a company meeting or in presenting services and products to a client, and there is no shortage of infographics these days. But because the trend for the past few years has been toward visualizing any information possible, you end up with infographics that are more like this:

Even professionally designed infographics come out like the one above, or on the other extreme, professionals present data in the traditional, ugly form that is uninspiring, as below:

You can do better

The two images above are embarrassing for professionals as the information is convoluted or lost in a sea of bad design. Companies typically rely on their in-house or third party designers to create visualizations for them, and are now commissioning them for their own website and blog in a rising number, presenting information to the public about their inner workings, but also for internal use so that information is visually presented, simplified, and easy to overview.

Enter Picktochart.com, the infographic app that allows users to select a theme for their infographic, edit information and customize, then save to various formats. If you are capable of editing a PowerPoint presentation, you will master Picktochart.

In about 10 minutes, we created this infographic below through Piktochart (the information is fictional and is just a sample):

It’s not all about social media though, you can present a variety of information visually. Below are the 24 Picktochart themes, and the company says they will be adding more over time:

Piktochart does not require contracts or setup fees and has a free version which offers 3 themes, a $9.99/mo PRO version that offers 15 themes and customization, and an Annual Pro account for $99/year. It appears these prices are a launch special that ends this month, but compared to commissioning a professional infographic (which is notably more desirable), this is a good alternative for small businesses on a budget.

Alternative infographic makers

While Piktochart is an inexpensive, easy to use option, there are others on the market worth checking out.

  1. Piktochart – Transforms your information into memorable presentations.
  2. Infogr.am – Create interactive charts and infographics.
  3. Gephi – Like Photoshop for data. Graph visualization and manipulation software.
  4. Tableau Public – Free data visualization software.
  5. Free Vector Infographic Kit – Vector infographic elements from MediaLoot.
  6. easel.ly – Create infographics online.
  7. Weave – Web-based analysis and visualization environment.
  8. iCharts – Charts made easy.
  9. ChartsBin – A web-based data visualization tool.
  10. GeoCommons – See your data on a map.
  11. Prefuse – Information visualization software.
  12. StatSilk – Desktop and online software for mapping and visualization.
  13. Gliffy – Online diagram and flowchart software.
  14. Hohli – Online charts builder.
  15. Many Eyes – Lets you upload data and create visualizations.
  16. Google Chart Tools – Display live data on your site.

UPDATE: if you’re looking for hilarious inspiration or want a good laugh based on a Piktochart created by a busy professional, Kris Berg’s San Diego Home Blog has a great example for your perusal.

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. abodograph

    July 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Great, timely story 🙂 I just started using Piktochart yesterday. There are a few rough spots, but it’s a pretty quick way to get an infographic done.

  2. Aron Susman

    July 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    We use this quite a bit and just did an Apple Infographic that scored us a bunch of traffic, all from a few hours on Piktochart

  3. SlinkyAndSnudis

    September 16, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    I would love to see an example as given above of “Your New Healthcare System” created in PiktoChart, since your blog suggests that the PiktoChart could enhance complex information visualisations. This template-approach doesn’t thrill me to be honest, as a designer I would never use it, it might be good for some simple information to be presented, but after a few people start using it, all their infographics will look the same. 

    • animechart

      October 25, 2012 at 6:26 am

      @SlinkyAndSnudis Me too. I’d rather use http://www.infogr.am, it’s simple and doesn’t try to make complex stuff that I can do myself.

  4. Pingback: Create charts on-the-go with this simple chart creation tool - AGBeat

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Business Marketing

No-reply emails have run their course, they don’t help customers

(BUSINESS MARKETING) No-reply emails may serve a company well, but the customers can become frustrated with the loss of a quick and easy way to get help.

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no-reply mail boxes

Let me tell you a modern-day horror story.

You finally decide to purchase the item that’s been sitting in your cart all week, but when you receive your confirmation email you realize there’s a mistake on the order. Maybe you ordered the wrong size item, maybe your old address is listed as the shipping location, or maybe you just have buyer’s remorse. Either way, you’ve got to contact customer service.

Your next mission is to find contact information or a support line where you can get the issue resolved. You scroll to the bottom of the email and look around for a place to contact the company, but all you find is some copyright junk and an unsubscribe option. Tempting, but it won’t solve your problem. Your last hope is to reply to the confirmation email, so you hit that trusty reply arrow and…nothing. It’s a no-reply email. Cue the high-pitched screams.

Customers should not have to sort through your website and emails with a microscope to find contact information or a customer service line. With high customer expectations and fierce ecommerce competition, business owners can’t afford to use no-reply emails anymore.

Intended or not, no-reply emails send your customer the message that you really don’t want to hear from them. In an age when you can DM major airlines on Twitter and expect a response, this is just not going to fly anymore.

Fixing this issue doesn’t need to be a huge burden on your company. A simple solution is to create a persona for your email marketing or customer service emails, it could be member of your team or even a company mascot. Rather than using noreply@company.com you can use john@company.com and make that email a place where your email list can respond to questions and communicate concerns. Remember, the whole point of email marketing is to create a conversation with your customers.

Another great strategy for avoiding a million customer service emails where you don’t want them? Include customer service contact info in your emails. Place a thoughtful message near the bottom of your template letting people know where they can go if they’re having an issue with the product or service. This simple change will save you, your customers, and your team so much time in the long-run.

Your goal as a business owner is to build a trusting relationship between you and your customers, so leave the no reply emails behind. They’re annoying and they might even get you marked as spam.

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Business Marketing

Simple way to sent text, email appointment reminders to clients

(MARKETING) This new app has tons of automatic tools that help small businesses continue to move into the digital age with ease of use.

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reminders

As the world becomes more heavily reliant on automated messaging and computer-mediated communication, we become more reluctant to actually speak to someone on the telephone. While I often find myself in this category, I also feel saddened by what Alexander Graham Bell must think. I digress.

We can certainly argue that a major reason we prefer to text or email rather than sit on the phone is for convenience. We can send a quick text while working, as it’s much more difficult to get away with a phone call on the down low.

That’s why it’s become so popular for places such as doctor’s offices and salons to begin using text and email alerts as appointment reminders. Now, Remindr is getting in on the action.

According to their site, “Remindr.co is a tool for small businesses to schedule automated email and text message appointment reminders. Reduce your meeting no-shows by alerting your clients beforehand. Easily confirm appointments with your customers via text message.”

They proclaim that they’re “great for any business that schedules customer appointments or client meetings,” citing their top use cases as restaurant reservations, nail salons, personal trainers, barbers, tattoo shops, spas, real estate agents, independent car mechanics, and tech sales scheduling customer calls.

This is a win-win as it’s convenient for the customer, but also saves time on the business’s side because it eliminates hours of reminder calls. Additionally, the method supports the reduction of no-shows, which is incredibly important to businesses – especially small ones.

Remindr features include: text message, email, confirmation, reusable templates, schedule alerts, and easy user interface. With text messaging, businesses can send personalized SMS messages to customers from your Remindr phone number.

With email, businesses can send personalized email reminders to their customers through Remindr email addresses. Then, customers can confirm their appointment via text messages or email, and businesses can review confirmations on their Remindr account.

Businesses can create their own personalized reminder templates to pre-fill the reminder form (for example: “Hi NAME! We’re looking forward to your appointment tomorrow (DATE) at TIME. Respond YES to confirm your appointment.”) Reminders can be automatically sent via email or text at a predetermined time.

Remindr provides an easy user interface where businesses can start scheduling reminders instantly, use full-keyboard form navigation, and it is mobile friendly.

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Business Marketing

PHD job seekers shouldn’t scare employers, they should be welcomed

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It’s time to change the narrative for PhD candidates on the job market. They have been through so much and can contribute just as much to your company

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phd grad

Employers have historically been skeptical of hiring PhD graduates for jobs, but it’s time for that to change. It seems counterintuitive, but many employers are scared of candidates who bring such a high level of education to the table. They worry that PhD graduates will ask for too much money, get bored with the work, or not be able to perform in a non-academic setting.

PhD graduates may come from an academic background, but this doesn’t mean they can’t be a valuable asset to your business. As for them asking for too much money, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but academics are not exactly swimming in pools of gold. People don’t go into academics because they want to get rich quick – or at all. By earning their degree, PhD graduates have proven that they possess dedication and grit to persevere in an environment that requires resourcefulness and strong problem-solving abilities.

Another common fear employers have about PhD graduates is whether or not the work will be interesting enough to keep them around long-term. The reality is this is something you should be concerned about for all of your potential new hires not just graduates. Keeping your employees engaged in the work can be one of the most challenging parts of running a business. PhD candidates want the same things as everyone else. Indeed recently talked to an expert on the subject, Vay Cao, the founder of Free the PhD, a company dedicated to helping postgrads find their place in the workforce. She says, “What PhD candidates are looking for is that opportunity to prove themselves [and] learn some new things.”

PhD graduates have long suffered from these misconceptions, but modern business owners have the opportunity to change the narrative. By ignoring graduates, you miss out on the wealth of opportunities their experiences offer your business. PhD graduates are often innovators in their fields with excellent presentation and inter-personal skills. These candidates can bring unique skill sets and experiences to your business that may give you that extra edge on the market.

At the end of the day, your priority as a business owner will be to do what’s best for your business. Hiring and interviewing candidates from a wide range of backgrounds will always be to your benefit. Take advantage of these unique and highly educated candidates. They are an asset you can’t afford to ignore anymore.

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