A picture is worth a thousand words: Turning Data into Infographics
How I’m creating infographics to turn password security data into digestible information
I’m writing an ebook — Is Password! Your Password? — about password security and the importance of password managers. And that topic requires me to write about data breaches and the importance of keeping your credentials safe. To do that, I give examples of breaches and talk about how essential it is to take passwords seriously.
And, of course, I have a lot of data. I use numbers and statistics to showcase how many people still don’t pay too much attention to safety and how it can affect them. From using and reusing the same password on all accounts to trusting that their pet or grandkid name plus birth date will keep them safe, users’ carelessness with passwords amazes me.
But even though I believe there’s a vast audience that would benefit from what I’m writing, reaching them is hard. And once I reach this audience, I have to make sure that the information I present is digestible.
Not only can the data be overwhelming if not presented properly, but this is also a topic that encounters a lot of resistance. Some users will say they know about password security and don’t need this, and others, usually the ones who need help, will stop reading because they think this is too hard to grasp. And there’s a third group; they might read but resist most of the things I’m explaining — this group also needs help.
So after I wrote a good amount of my ebook, I realized that I could turn parts into infographics to ease the information consumption. I decided to apply the good old saying that one picture is worth a thousand words. And so far, I like the results.
I’m not a designer, so it took me a while to get to a result I liked. And I’m aware that I can brush this up more. But here is a small step-by-step of how I went from research to infographics.
Call me a nerd, but I enjoy researching topics I’m interested in. And in this case, it was no different.
My focus for the first infographic was to find the most significant breaches in well-known websites. Remember that my audience is not the super high-tech user who knows his way around passwords.
My audience is the folks who ask their kids, siblings, or friends for help with their passwords. Those who get frustrated every time they forget a password — which happens more often than they like to admit — insist that the problem is with the website where they are typing the login in, not the fact that they are probably typing in the wrong password.
So with that in mind, I had to focus on breaches on websites my crowd would recognize and connect with. Even if they don’t necessarily use the websites, I wanted them to identify the names.
I have to be honest here. I started with a simple “biggest data breaches in history” search, and from there, I went down a rabbit hole of links and statistics. I combed through the information to focus on names my audience was familiar with and started to work on visuals.
I’m not a designer, but I did my best, so be nice — my tool of choice: Canva (referral link). I like that Canva is not that complicated, and I can get things done without sweating it too much. As I mentioned before, there’s room for improvement, but I’m still happy with my results.
Here are a few links from some of the websites I used to create the first infographic:
Breaches on Popular Websites
I created this one so that readers can relate breaches to websites they use or hear about.
For the second infographic, the research was faster since I just wanted to point out the most used passwords in the US in 2021. Even though I was perplexed with results and kept looking at the screen in disbelieve, I gathered everything I needed in 4 or 5 clicks. For this one, I decided to use the information I found on NordPass.
Top Ten in the US in 2021
With this infographic, I want to show that many people don’t take passwords seriously. This list always makes me cringe, but it also validates the idea that an audience needs help with this topic.
I’m hoping that with the infographics — I published one of them on the pre-order page for my ebook — that people will read them and be interested in knowing more about the topic. Or that they will see that you can efficiently summarize password security data and turn it into digestible information.
In other words, I want the images to make the content more inviting for all users. And I also want to show that you don’t need to get too technical into cyber security to understand what is happening around you and do your best to be safe and protect your credentials. Hopefully, this will make my content more user-friendly.