Website of the month: Daily Infographic
Explaining rates, generation, transmission or energy programs to people outside the utility industry is a tough job. If you are the person who has to do it, a visit to Daily Infographic may help you find new ways to communicate with customers.
This website is not specifically about utilities or energy, although it has some excellent resources covering related issues. Rather, it showcases the best in information design and data visualization from around the Internet. These data-filled illustrations don't just tell a story, they show it with colorful, easy-to-understand graphs, pie charts and comparisons.
Infographics are as much about how you communicate as what you communicate. Take How to Save on Your Energy Bill, for example. This infographic from a British renewable energy company illustrates 10 easy tips for reducing energy use with a simple icon and one or two sentences of instruction. Eco-Housing 101 shows how to reduce energy use room by room with a diagram of a home and brief factoids explaining how and why.
To reinforce the importance of simple measures, show skeptics Small Things, Big Environmental Impact. This infographic from Wellhome uses the strength of numbers—watts, pounds of carbon dioxide, dollars—to build a strong case for going after the low-hanging fruit. How Much Do We Really Recycle? can do the same for people who wonder if recycling is really worth the trouble.
Relevant to power providers
Daily Infographic offers statistics on everything from Snakebites in Family Pets to The Facts About Poop (just try and stop yourself from clicking on that link). However, the categories that are most likely to interest utilities are business, environmental, Internet and tech.
Some infographics are perfect for turning into bill stuffers or linking to your website; however, you will need to get permission from the company that created it. Before each infographic is an introductory paragraph; at the end of the paragraph you’ll find a tiny and not-exactly-self-explanatory link labeled “via.” This link takes you to the infographic’s owner, where you can request permission to use it. The good news is, many of the companies encourage linking with their websites.
You can also mine infographics for statistics for presentations and reports—a good one will cite the source of its data. Whether you need to explain to your board how Internet use has changed your load profile, or talk to customers about wind or solar power, Daily Infographic makes your research easier.
Utility-related infographics make up only a small portion of the posts on Daily Infographic, but information—especially in concise, digestible nuggets—is power. Program managers can comb social media and marketing for insights into how consumers form allegiances to brands or respond to different types of messaging. Lifestyle can alert resource planners to trends like urban growth or telecommuting that could have a long-term effect on load.
The real value of the site, however, is in how it gets users to think about information—how to break it down and package it to make your point quickly and directly. Of course, creating effective infographics is a specific skill, but signing up for a daily dose of visual information can help sharpen your marketing and presentations. Just don't get distracted by The Cost of Being Iron Man.