Interrogate an Interface: easel.ly

If you’ve ever wanted (or needed) to create an infographic, but you don’t have “design skills,” then you’re the target audience of easel.ly, a website that offers free tools for designing your own infographic. The website itself refers to the infographics it helps create as  “visuals,” so that’s what I’ll use in this analysis.

The website is designed with the user in mind. It uses alignment and different color rows to visually communicate different sections of the website and different functions of the tool. The blue/gray colors seen in the image below are repeated throughout the website and tool to create a consistent look throughout.

easel.ly home page
easel.ly home page

The tool is fairly self-explanatory, but in case you need extra help, there’s a video on the home page explaining the purpose of easel.ly and basic functions of the tool. Once you click on the “start fresh” option, you get to the screen below.

start fresh
Start Fresh

This page explains some of the broad functions of the tool, and once you begin actually constructing your infographic, this information disappears. Here’s a quick rundown of the basic tools easel.ly provides:

  • Black Bar options
    • Home: back to the main easel.ly homepage
    • Save: name and save your design
    • Open: open up any of your already saved visuals
    • Clear: completely clear the “canvas” to start over
  • White Bar options
    • “Vhemes”: fifteen pre-loaded themes, including map options, flow chart options, and other common infographic styles
    • Objects: people and animal icons and other common and semi-common shapes
    • Backgrounds
    • Shapes: mostly basic shapes or arrows to be used in much the same way as objects
    • Text: three different size options (title, header, and body) for text boxes
    • Upload: upload your own image or file
    • Zoom
    • Grid: show gridlines (These will be a part of the final design if you do not unclick before saving.)
    • Undo
easel.ly gridlines
easel.ly gridlines

As I’ll explain in the rest of the analysis, easel.ly successfully achieves its goal of providing a tool to help you easily create visually dynamic infographics. It provides a variety of pre-loaded options to choose from, but it does not allow for much deviation outside of the standard options, so it may be frustrating to use if you have a particular color scheme/font family to work with. It is a great tool for someone who is simply looking to create an infographic with little to no design capabilities; it perhaps has a few too many constraints for someone with a little more technical knowledge and unique design preferences.

Affordances of easel.ly.

Constraints of easel.ly.

I also analyzed the design choices of the website itself here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.