Visualizing Information

Part of an Infographic about handwriting (source: educatorstechnology.com)

Part of an Infographic about handwriting

Infographics. Do you remember them? Have you seen any lately?

In our internet, SEO-obsessed world, the question arises from time to time, should we bother with the graphics, especially something like an infographic?

Courtney Gordner  asked “are infographics dead?” at tweakyourbiz.com recently. Seems that many feel that graphically conveying the information is a dying art because SEO cannot really read text in a graphic. Well, my question to you is, are you looking for SEO points or are you looking to make your information useful to others? Courtney points to evidence that they are not, because of the rise of social media platforms such as Facebook or Pinterest. Courtney points out five reasons you ought to use them:

  1. Statistical data is more compelling and easier to understand when placed in charts and graphs
  2. Visual stimulation is the highest sensory detail we have, since 90% of our daily information intake is visual
  3. Most social networks are built on picture oriented platforms
  4. Pictures reach a wider demographic
  5. When someone uses your infographic, they link back to your page

Let’s face it, connecting with others takes work. Infographics take work to create. (If you want to read the one on this page, click the infographic or here to see the full-sized version. It is quite interesting.) But as John Maxwell says, connecting takes work and connectors are willing to do the hard work of creating connection.

If you are interested in infographics, there are plenty of places to learn more. I did a post a few months back on the subject.

Also, if you are really interested in learning to visually display information, you should consider getting one of Dr. Edward Tufte’s books, or even better, attend one of his marvelous seminars. I attended one some years back and, while I have always appreciated the power of the visual arts, Dr. Tufte helps you really understand how to make information live visually.

If you find a way to make information interesting and compelling, you will have no problem with SEO. Rather, you will have people flocking to your site to see more about your compelling information.

Using Infographics For Your Company by Courtney Gordner at tweakyourbiz.com

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Expert advice for keeping on task

Our friends at Under30CEO polled a number of successful entrepreneurs to find out what they do to keep on task, even with hectic schedules. Some of the ideas are technologies, others are behaviors, some are attitudes. Enjoy the list:

  1. Turn off the Dopamine Drip — Break your addiction to email and social media. Use them wisely.
  2. Make Yourself Accountable — A challenge when you are the boss and don’t have someone to hold you accountable. As Nike says, “Just Do It.”
  3. Segment Time into Tasks — Focus on the most important things and dedicate time to them.
  4. Keep Certain Rituals — Regularly doing things such as planning your next day the night before can help you make sure you are prepared.
  5. Manage Tasks with ANY.DO — An Android-based task list
  6. Work Well with Wunderlist — I use this one on my Apple products, iPad, iPhone, and MacBook Air. You can even share lists with team members.
  7. Leave it all to Asana — an online productivity app. I’ve not played with it yet, but it looks interesting…
  8. Touch Base with the Team — keeping people in the loop daily helps keep coordinated and provide accountability
  9. Learn to Reset Yourself — Figure out how to get back on track when distracted — then remember how you did it for the future!
  10. Stick to a Critical Triad — Don’t mistake busy for productive, ask “What 3 critical tasks must I get done today?”
  11. Multitasking is Overrated — It is best to try to focus on just one thing at a time. Try carving out time so you can do this…
  12. Stay in the Moment — Don’t get overwhelmed with all you think you have to do. Just do what you need to now and attend to the other stuff in its turn.
  13. Set Ground Rules — As a leader, you have to give time to others, but need time for what you must do, too. Make it clear when people can or should interact and hold them to it.

What things do you do to keep on task? Why not share them below?

13 Ways to Manage Your (Hectic) Schedule and Stay On Task at Under30CEO

Small Business and Rendering Unto Caesar

Personal Income Taxes Ver7

Business tax deductions to save your business money (Photo credit: StockMonkeys.com)

With Tax Day one week away, here in the USA, it is time to think about filing your taxes, if you haven’t already. If you run a small business, here are some deductions the U.S. Small Business Administration shared recently via SmallBuzTrends.com. If you have a home based business, really trying to earn a profit, and working to make this your primary income, you should consider these tips. If you are really in it for a hobby, you can still use these deductions to reduce your income. However, hobbyists can only deduct to the extent they have income (in other words, you cannot take a loss). Here’s the list. Get details by reading the article, or consult your tax advisor. (And remember, I am not a tax advisor or financial professional!)

  1. Health Care Tax Credit. The Affordable Care act allows some extra deductions in some circumstances if you are small and provide employee health care as a benefit.
  2. Business Use of a Personal Vehicle. Use it in business? Keep a log? Get a deduction!
  3. Business Travel and Entertainment Expenses. Travel on business? Some of your expenses are deductible!
  4. Home Office Deduction. If you have space at home you use exclusively for the conduct of your business, you can write off some of your home expenses. If you own your home, there are some implications when you sell, so you really should talk to a professional about this.
  5. Start-up Costs. If your business started last year, some or all of your costs associated with getting started can be deducted in the tax year. If you have high costs, then some will have to be amortized over time.
  6.  Professional Fees and Training Costs. Need professional advice? It is a legitimate deduction. I learned  that if you pay them over certain thresholds, you might have to report that on a 1099-MISC. The filing date for that has passed, so you may be subject to a fine for late filing this year.
  7. Equipment and Software Purchases. You might think that these are capital expenses and must be depreciated, but there are thresholds below which certain things can be deducted in the year incurred. Check it out…
  8. Moving Costs. Did your business require you to relocate? If your workplace is 50 miles further than your old workplace, you can take a personal deduction. (OK, it’s not a business deduction, but it could still save you money.)
  9. Hiring Veterans. There are tax credits available for hiring veterans under certain circumstances.
  10. Charitable Donations. Donations to charity by business can be deductible. Check out the rules.

10 Small Business Tax Deductions You Shouldn’t Ignore at Small Business Trends

Science and Rose-Colored Glasses

Science is all about discovery, sometimes deliberate, sometimes by accident. I understand that Sucralose, the artificial sweetener that goes by the trade name “Splenda” (among others) was first discovered when two researchers were conducting an experiment. One told the other to “test” the compound. The other thought he was told to “taste” the compound… A sweet discovery, I’m sure.

I ran across an article recently about a researcher testing some glasses designed to help medical professionals better see blood vessels just under the skin. When the researcher, who was colorblind, looked at the rest of the world through these glasses, he discovered that he could see red and green! 8% of men and 0.5% of women are colorblind. Advances like this might help them see better. While there are side effects — the researcher could not see yellow at all with the glasses, he felt that they would make a difference when he was at the museum or when looking at PowerPoint presentations with colored pie-charts…

The science behind the glasses — the research and the goals are also worth looking at. The scientist behind the work, Dr. Mark Changizi, is studying color perception and has some interesting ideas about why we developed color perception and how we use it, perhaps unconsciously to gather information about others’ physical and emotional conditions.

Related Posts:

Are you looking for success?

My friend and mentor Ed DeCosta has a great blog about success. (If you don’t like to read, he publishes it as a v-blog, too, just scroll to the bottom of the page.) In his latest installment, Seeing What You’re Looking For, Ed explains the science of success and our “Reticular Activating System” (RAS), that part of our subconscious that sees things that are important to us. RAS is the reason you see your new car’s model everywhere you drive. Your subconscious has alerted your conscious to be on the lookout.

As Ed points out, success works the same way. When we write out our goals, we let our subconscious know they are important to us, and it alerts the conscious mind to be on the lookout and tell it when things related to our goal appear. When you do, you begin to see what you are looking for.

Are you looking for success? Then read what Ed has to say. It is truly “Ed-ifying!”

Seeing What You’re Looking For

 

Tools to help build “Infographics”

Let’s face it, in our media-driven world, graphics help get people’s attention. The best graphics tell the story. What do you do when your story is all about the numbers? Infographics. Our friends at hongkait.com have put together a kit of templates and vector kits to jump-start your Infographics career. Explore them and see how you can use an infographic in your next blog or report.

30 Templates & Vector Kits to Design Your Own Infographic