StudentMobileUsageOwnership2011 title=

Easel.ly is a free tool for creating infographics. An infographic is a graphical representation of  information or data. I created the above infographic using data from the ‘The Student Voice‘ survey, presented by Professor Neil Witt at last year’s Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Showcase Day.

Easel.ly is web-based and (info. for techies) created in JavaScript. It’s a beta version, which may explain why it can take quite a long time to move page elements and minor annoyances such as objects not dragging to where you want them on screen. However, it’s incredibly easy to use and comes with a range of templates and elements, such as the people and social media icons used here, all ready to use. The above infographic took me about 2 days to create (this included finding the camera and wiki/blog icons which were not provided).

When you drag the bars to resize them, they expand from the centre which is a bit irritating as you then have to line them up – there is a grid to help you with this though. You can also send objects to the front or back, enabling you to edit elements easily. I’m afraid I cheated with the bars in the ‘Service Usage’ graph and created them in Photoshop (you can import your own images). Although there is a ‘Clone Tool’, it tends to paste objects at a distance so you have to move them into position manually. It would be great if there was a customisable Brush Tool, as there is in Photoshop, as this would considerable speed up the graph creation process.

Your infographic will enlarge nicely on screen when in editing mode. However, the jpeg which is displayed in the View section is actually quite small (808 x 626 pixels) – this is the same when you embed it. In order to get an A3 printed version I did a screen shot (png) of it at 150% in the editing mode, opened it in Photoshop and upped the resolution to 150dpi.

Easel.ly is aimed at non-designers and is great for creating infographics, just don’t leave it until the last minute! Other infographic creation tools available include infogr.am – for creating interactive graphs and charts and visual.ly – for creating infographics from Twitter hashtags (eg. #eLearning). See this post from the ‘Free Technology for Teachers’ Blog for more information. You may also find the Guardian’s ‘Data Visualisation DIY: our top tools‘ article of interest and have a look at ‘Information is Beautiful‘ for inspiration…

Advertisements