Thursday, June 21, 2012

Working with easel.ly

I've been working on a library module for a new course and want to use a graphic, something visually appealing than a simple chart,to present data about library holdings, IRC holdings,LibGuides and OhioLINK. Intrigued by infographics, the ones that catch my interest (layout and information) are often professionally designed and more intricate than I could quickly or easily produce. While exploring the web last week, I found Easel.ly: Create and Share Visual Ideas Online.




I spent an afternoon gathering data for my project and then created an account to develop an infographic. Easel.ly is currently in beta and free; on my computer it seemed to work best with Firefox, though an updated version of IE or other browser may have success. If you are familiar at all with Glogster (I love GlogsterEDU) Easel.ly's general layout somewhat similar, this helped reduce the new user learning curve for my project.  After using the site, here are a few notes and observations:

  • There are several templates - or "Vhemes" - available or users can start graphic from scratch utilizing a selection of background colors and patterns. Starting from scratch can be somewhat overwhelming, the blank canvass looms large.
  • Infogrpahic layout options include landscape, portrait, or mobile. I used portrait, mobile was somewhat 'thinner,' but not necessarily longer.  There did not seem to be opportunity to set your own infographic size.
  • Working with the live canvass was made easier because it's zoomable; the editor has an undo button (hooray); and best of all a grid option sets up the canvass in squares making it easy to align objects.
  • "Text" sizing options are title, header, and body.  Once selected, they are customizable; a nice selection of fonts and text colors are available.  It's possible to further structure text with bold, italics, superscript, and size. Similar to word art, you can drag the text box and it will increase proportionally to fit the desired area.
  • It's possible to upload images.  I am unsure how much space is available for uploading, but I was able to add seven images without issue.
  • The "Shapes" library provides and assortment of arrows, squares, circles, triangles, and even text call-outs. Each is customizable using a variety of colors that can be adjusted.
  • The "Objects" library provides icons and images for users from ten different categories including people, icons, and banners.
  • Choose your element and drag it to the canvass; all elements are adjustable.  The only oddity I found was when sizing, the element moves from the middle out (proportionally) as opposed to dragging a corner into position. This took a bit of getting used to (putting the square in the middle of an area, it expanded on both sides).
  • When finished, you can save the inforgraphic as a jpeg; grab a persistent link to the image, or copy the code provided for embedding on blogs, web pages (or LibGuides).
  • Embedding? You may choose for the project to be public or private. Embedded infographics link back to Easel.ly (see below).
  • The embedded image is sizeable; the default parameters did not fit within the blog post structure. It was simple to size it accordingly.
I saved my finished project as a .jpeg and inserted it into the library module (ater revising to cite my data sources).  Overall, I'm pleased with the result ... and the web site. 

AU_Library title=

6 comments:

Brenna said...

Hi Diane - thanks for this write up! I was wondering...you mentioned that you didn't have any issues uploading images. I have attempted it,but am unable to locate where the images saved to in my account. Can you shed some light? Thanks!

Brenna said...

Got it! - please disregard my crazy, uninformed question. :)

Diane Schrecker said...

No worries ... you answered your own question before I saw the comment. :-)

Teresa said...

For us newbies, where are they being placed? They do not come up for me, and I am not getting a file type not allowed. Please advise.
Thanks

Teresa said...

So where are they going? As a newbie, I am experiencing this; not getting a "file not allowed" message, and it seems to be uploading, but I cannot find them. Running IE9.

Diane Schrecker said...

You may want to try a different browser. I uploaded a piece of clip art using Chrome, and the image appeared (immediately)to the left of my art board.