September 2014 - Internet Resources Digest


Infographics and Visualization Tools

AIHA Internet Resources Digest
September 2014

Supporting Access to the High Quality Online Resources

Spotlight on: Infographics and Visualization Tools

Infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly. They can improve cognition by utilizing graphics to enhance the human visual system’s ability to see patterns and trends. The three parts of all infographics are the visual, the content, and the knowledge.  

Tools is a website that features thousands of free infographic templates and design objects which users can customize to create and share their visual ideas online.  

Using the site is as easy as dragging and dropping design elements, and users can either choose a template from our extensive library, or they can upload their own background image and start from scratch. Over 300,000 users have already registered with, and thousands of infographics are produced using the site every month. is ideal for educators, students, business owners, and executives who need to convey a thought, lesson plan, or concept in an easy-to-follow visual form. 

In 2013 was honored to receive the Best Websites for Teaching and Learning Award from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). The AASL recommended for being user friendly, in-tuitive, and simple enough that even a child in the 6th grade could successfully navigate the site and design their infographic.


StatPlanet (formerly StatPlanet Map Maker) is a free, award-winning application for creating interactive maps which are fully customizable. In addition to maps, the software also has the option of including interactive graphs and charts to create feature-rich infographics. It can be used either within your browser or download the software for free.

Many Eyes  

Finding the right way view your data is as much an art as a science. The visualizations provided on Many Eyes range from the ordinary to the experimental. This is one of the easiest to use tools. It provides you with a set of pre-made visualizations that you can fill in with your data or use their data.


This is a text based visualization tool. It basically lets users create their own word clouds based on interesting pre-made designs. Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes.  

The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends. 

Tableau Public 

Tableau Public is a free solution for anyone who wants to tell interactive data stories on the web. It’s delivered as a service so you can be up and running right now. You’ll be able to connect to data, create interactive data visualizations and publish them directly to your website. Guide readers through a narrative of data insights you’ve discovered


Inkscape is an open-source vector graphics editor similar to Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw. It is  a free infographic creation tool. It has a simple and intuitive interface and besides being able to create your own infor-graphics, it also allows you to import your  visualizations and combine them with other visuals to create your own. (It requires download).  

All Inkscape projects may be exported in formats friendly to web browsers or commercial printer rooms. It is cross-platform, which means it is easy to run on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

Publications and Blogs

Jan Knight. Imaginative and Interactive Research Resource: Infographics. Thursday, 2nd May 2013  

“Even experienced researchers will benefit from paying closer attention to infographics and infoposters. They often present solid facts and statistical data in an "At a Glance" format, which is at once easy-to-understand and pleasing to the eye. Plus these non-text resources are seemingly everywhere you turn, so why not use them?”

Eight Free Infograhic Tools for Teachers 

“Information graphics which are the visual representation of data known as infographics are making rounds online these days. It seems like web users are favouring this form of content format over other forms. Their  visually attractive display, the bright and shiny colours they  include are what make out of them an appealing means of communication.”

Information graphics in health technology assessment 

The information graphics project at PenTAG, Peninsiula Medical School, researches the use of visual display techniques for presenting research data from health technology assessment. PhD thesis of Dr Will Stahl-Timmins.  

„This thesis addresses the question of the design, production and use of information graphics in health technology assessment (hta). Drawing on previous research in both information design and health policy, it describes a comprehensive design process for creating new visual presentations that can inform health policy-makers“.

About the AIHA Internet Resources Digest

The Internet Resources Digest — previously called the Health Resources Digest — is distributed free of charge as a service of the American International Health Alliance’s Knowledge Management Program thanks to the generous support of the American people through the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The Knowledge Management Program is implemented through AIHA’s HIV/AIDS Twinning Center Program, which is funded through a cooperative agreement with the US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

The Internet Resources Digest is compiled by Irina Ibraghimova, PhD, Library and Information Management Specialist, HealthConnect International ( The contents are the responsibility of AIHA and do not necessarily reflect the views of PEPFAR, HRSA, or the United States Government. 

If you have a suggestion for a Digest topic, or would like to contribute information about Internet resources, please contact ibra[at]

Back issues of the Internet Resources Digest for 2011-2014 are archived at

If this document is to be redistributed or posted on another Web site, we request that it be posted in full without alteration, and credit is given to the AIHA as the source of the document. 


AIHA logo Twinning Center logo