Facilitators understand first-hand that one of the best ways to communicate complex information and ideas is with effective visuals. Images, graphs and charts are good, but infographics go a step further by turning a collection of data and facts into an engaging and easy to understand visual story.
There's a huge number of free tools out there for building great looking infographics online, but not all of them suit the needs of trainers and facilitators well. We've pored through the various options available online to choose three tools you simply can't go wrong with.
How did we choose these tools? Our criteria were very straightforward, and consisted of the following four questions:
1. Does the tool offer a large selection of free templates appropriate for workshops and training settings?
We were first and foremost interested in tools that already have a large library of good-looking templates that would be appropriate for use in a facilitation or training environment. This includes templates for data visualization (charts, graphs, and diagrams), decision-making (decision trees, strategy maps, scorecards and rubrics), as well as concept maps, mind maps, and other useful graphic representations
2. Does the tool have an intuitive click-and-drag graphic design interface?
We also limited our selection to tools that have an intuitive interface that let you build graphics with minimal set-up time and keep you from getting lost in the weeds
3. How much functionality do you get on a *free* account?
We were interested in tools that not only let you get started for free, but also let you download your creations without watermarks and other advertising on them that make your graphics look less than perfectly professional
4. Can you use the tool to create social media-friendly content?
In addition to creating infographics and other content for your workshops, we wanted to highlight tools that help you easily create awesome graphics for your social media marketing
With these criteria in mind, let's check out the four best infographic tools available for facilitators and trainers to use for free!
Top Three FREE Infographic Tools for Facilitators
If you're involved in design work you might have run across Canva before, and for good reason. Since its start in 2012, Canva has grown to be one of the biggest names in online graphic design. Canva tops our list for a number of reasons.
First of all, Canva offers a huge range of fantastic looking templates for data visualization, categorized in logical and straightforward way that makes it easy for you to find the perfect templates for almost any type of graphic. Canva also makes it very easy to collaborate on your designs with team members and others outside your organization, even if you're just using their free plan.
Canva's export and download options are the most generous of all the tools we looked at for customers without a paid subscription. Not only can you download your creations as images, but as a free user you can also export GIFs, multi-page PDFs, and even videos. There are no limitations on the number of graphics you can download using the free plan, making it perfect for facilitators who don't necessarily want to shell out for another tool.
Piktochart is a great alternative to Canva. Although its templates aren't as easily searchable or neatly categorized as Canva, it's click-and-drag graphic design interface is very powerful and user-friendly. Piktochart also offers an additional set of templates under the category "News Visualization," which makes it easy to build graphics around the topical issues of the day.
Piktochart allows you to download up to three graphics per month on their free tier, however you can only download these as an image file (PNG) unless you subscribe to a paid subscription.
Rounding out our list is Visme, which also comes with a powerful interface, albeit a bit clunkier-looking than Canva or Piktochart.
Like Canva and Piktochart, Visme offers a wide range of infographic templates of various sizes and layouts, however users of the free tier will find that certain templates are tagged "premium" and only available to paid subscribers. Like Piktochart, free users can only download their graphics as an image file rather than a GIF, video or PDF.
Getting the most from your infographics
Most likely, you'll be including your infographics in the slide material you present during your workshop or training sessions. Referring back to an infographic you've already shown earlier in your slide deck can be a bit tedious, though, if you're sharing your screen and need to flip back and forth through your slides. Seshboard makes it easy to show the content you want to show, at exactly the right times, by letting you upload multiple different presentation files and quickly switch to the one you want to show.
If you've created an infographic you'll be referring to multiple times during your workshop, you can upload it separately and quickly choose to present it whenever it's relevant. To learn more about how Seshboard makes presenting your training and workshop content easier and more impactful, consider booking a personal demo with us.
Infographics are a powerful tool for explaining complex information and ideas in a more engaging, interesting, and understandable way. By using any of the three tools described in this article, you can easily create beautiful and professional infographics for your workshops, for free!
Interested in learning more about how to maximize your participants' engagement during online workshops? Check out the other articles in Seshboard's Guide to Online Engagement.