Knowing that so many people have trouble making up their minds, you have probably faced this problem before: how can I get my audience to choose the option I want them to? Or, how can I help my audience make the best, most informed choice?
You probably know from experience that giving your audience a dense, lengthy reports explaining their options doesn’t really stick. Most people won’t bother even reading the whole thing.
Here are some important questions that will help guide your selection of comparison charts (click to jump ahead to each section):
- What is the best chart for comparison?
- How do you make a comparison infographic?
- How do you compare two products?
- What is a comparison table?
- How do you do a side by side comparison?
What is the best chart for comparison?
A common problem you may face is figuring out which comparison chart choice is best for what you’re doing. This depends on what information you’re trying to display. Throughout this post we will be looking at different examples of comparison charts to guide you in deciding what works best for you.
How do you make a comparison infographic?
Infographics visualize information using a combination of visuals like icons and charts, and decorative fonts (get a full definition of infographics). A comparison infographic that summarizes the information can make it a lot easier for readers to wrap their heads around different options.
You can try starting with an engaging comparison infographic template.
Follow these steps to use a comparison infographic template:
- Pick a comparison infographic template that fits the story you want to tell.
- Add, remove, or rearrange items in the template using the drag and drop canvas.
- Include your own visuals, text, and data.
- Customize the colors, fonts and icons to make the design your own.
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Here are 6 comparison infographic templates to help you compare information.
1. Visualize pros and cons to encourage smart decision making
Remember this classic piece of advice: make a list of pros and cons. Writing down your options can make it easier to weigh aspects of each.
Using visuals–like comparison infographics–to illustrate options is even better. In fact, a study at Michigan State University found that the part of the brain responsible for our vision is also largely involved in our decision making.
Follow the pros and cons list model by dividing your infographic in half and placing both lists side by side. Organize your information by categories, using bold headers. Icons are also a great way to visualize ideas and make specific text points stand out.
2. Compare products to highlight features and persuade buyers
You can tell someone your product is better…but most people won’t believe it until they see it with their own eyes. That’s where good data visualization design comes in.
How do you compare two products?
List the features down the middle of the infographic and compare two similar products. Include product shots to make the products more recognizable. A comparison infographic like this can be useful to highlight the superiority of a product you’re selling, or to help people pick the best product for their needs.
Another way of using icons is to contrast them against a solid colour so that they are the main focus of your comparison infographic:
3. Create a visually-appealing table to make information easy to understand
Wrapping your head around multiple options can be challenging. Especially if the information is technical.
What is a comparison table?
Sure, you could use a spreadsheet. But unless you’re a particularly enthusiastic accountant, spreadsheets have a way of making a lot of people go cross-eyed. But an infographic table is an effective way to show multiple options. Icons and strategic color use help keep the snores at bay, while also making the information easier to understand.
You can also compare experiences to highlight differences. Each point clarifies the difference between each experience:
4. Use colors strategically in your comparison infographic template to influence decision making
Colors influence how we perceive information. Most people will recognize, for example, that green equals “go” or “good”, while red equals “stop” or “bad”. Colors can help influence what people perceive to be the right choice and the wrong choice.
In cases where you want to encourage your audience to make a decision, highlighting the “right” choice in green will indicate that they should go for that choice. For a more examples of how you can use colors strategically, read our guide to color selection.
5. Debunk myths by comparing facts with fiction side by side
Sometimes we don’t realize how ridiculous a piece of information is until we stand it up against the truth. Comparison infographics can be very effective tools for educating your audience–they’re easy to share on social media and perfect for including in presentations.
How do you do a side by side comparison?
6. Divide your comparison infographic template horizontally to show upsides and downsides
You don’t have to stick with the typical vertical page split. When you create an infographic, you have the opportunity to get creative with your design. Arrange the text and visuals on your infographic to reflect the theme of your information.
7. Use a venn diagram template to show overlapping points
A classic venn diagram is a great way to show where two things differ and where they overlap. If a typical venn diagram seems too boring, you can spice it up by using brightly contrasting colors and icons.
8. Create timelines to compare journeys or similar processes
Do you want to compare journeys for your different customer personas? Or the new employee onboarding processes for different departments?
There are a whole bunch of reason why you would want to compare timelines. That’s where a timeline template can come in handy. Use different colors for each timeline to help them stand apart. You can also use icons to code the information–to show where there are similarities, and where the different timelines diverge.
9. Use charts to compare metrics for different segments
Perhaps you want to compare the same metric across different user segments, different channels, or different time period. Using the same type of chart to compare data can highlight the differences.
10. Contrast the types of icons you use to make one option look more appealing
Generally speaking, it’s good practice to use only one type of icon in your design. This will help your design look consistent.
But rules were made to be broken sometimes.
For example, take a look at how this comparison infographic template uses icons. The icons on the organic side of the circle are vibrant and colorful, while the icons on the GMO side are flat and one-note. This helps drive home the idea that organic foods are the more appealing option.
11. Emphasize key numbers with big, bold fonts
If you want to draw attention to specific numbers or statistics, then write those numbers in a bigger font that your other body text. You can also use a contrasting color to help them really pop out from the page.
For example, in this infographic comparing protein content in foods, the grams of protein are emphasized using a big, dark font that contrasts with the white background:
This infographic compares the flu to COVID-19 by emphasizing the numbers being displayed. The numbers are accompanied by icons and a blue background so that they stand out in your infographic:
12. Use a quadrant layout to compare four things
A quadrant layout shows four options sides-by-side. Similar to how you can use two different colors to differentiate between two options, you can use four colors to help each quadrant stand out.
Take a look at how this quadrant comparison infographic uses contrasting colors for each quadrant. Arrows also act as visual cues to indicate the direction in which the information should be read:
13. Pick a background image that visualizes the theme of your information
Sometimes it can be hard to look past data to see the story behind it. That’s where images can help. Including photos and illustrations in your data visualization can help make data more meaningful to readers.
One infographic design hack is to use a photo as the background for your infographic. Pick a photo that illustrates the topic or theme of your data. Then, use a transparent color overlay to help your text pop from the background. You can do this using the color picker tool in Venngage.
14. Show preferences with a sliding rating scale
If you want to compare customer satisfaction, or preferences, or opinions on a topic, then there’s a good chance the answers won’t be black or white. Instead, people may fall somewhere in the middle.
A slider rating scale allows you to get an exact percentage rating. That’s why it’s often considered a more accurate way of rating customer experiences, as opposed to, say, simply asking people to rate something on a scale of 1-5.
15. Visualize clusters of topics with a bubble chart template
Bubbles charts are a fun and creative way to group topics together. You can create a hierarchy of information by putting the most important information in the biggest bubble and the supporting information in smaller bubbles.
Another example of a bubble chart template is this simple one. A common mistake newbie designers make is not experimenting with different shapes for comparison charts. You can see below that each bubble separates different ideas to explain a concept, and is also visually appealing. Within the bubble you can also add icons and images. Colors help to differentiate each idea.
16. Create a short, digestible comparison infographic for social media
If you’re creating infographics for Instagram or Twitter, long designs won’t fit in those feeds. That’s why it’s worth it to create short, punchy infographics that focus on one interesting statistic.
Here’s an infographic marketing hack: pull a key statistic from a longer infographic and create a condensed version of the infographic for social media. That will give you an opportunity to point readers to the full infographic on your site.
For example, this social media graphic visualizes one surprising statistic:
17. When in doubt, use a simple bar graph to compare data
If you’re concerned about overcomplicating your design, it’s perfectly fine to play it safe. A classic bar graph is a great way to compare data. Plus, there are still ways you can make the design more engaging than your typical Excel chart.
For example, emphasize certain data points with a different color. Or decorate your graph with icons that help to visualize the data.
Take a look at how a darker shade is used to emphasize the total numbers on these bar graphs:
18. Visualize concepts with easily understood icons
Icons allow you to visualize and represent information in one concise vector graphic. They’re both functional and decorative.
The key is to make sure that the meanings behind your icons are fairly easy to understand. Look for symbols that are commonly used to represent certain things–for example, a light bulb for ideas, or a paint pallet for art/creativity.
We’ve already looked at a bunch of examples of infographics that use icons to visualize information. Here’s another great infographic example of how icons can be used to visualize concepts:
19. Invert the color scheme for both options in your comparison infographic
Here’s another simple hack for a bold design: split your infographic down the middle and invert the color scheme on either side.
This kind of color scheme is particularly effective for visualizing diametrically opposing data. For example, look at how the inverted color scheme reflects day and night in this comparison infographic template:
20. Color code data to make it easier to scan your comparison infographic
Give certain metrics or types of information specific colors. That way, readers should be able to skim your infographic and understand it more quickly.
For example, this infographic uses three colors to represent each topic (career, family, security) across the different geographical locations. This makes it easier for readers to understand the compare the data.