Promises and Pitfalls: Taking a Closer Look at How Interactive Infographics Affect Learning From News

Esther Greussing, Hajo G. Boomgaarden


This study investigates how interactive infographics affect individuals’ understanding of news. We conducted a survey experiment (N = 293) to isolate the effects of a clickable graph and a slider graph on memory of the interactive graphical content and the surrounding text-based content, respectively. Moreover, to shed light on the underlying mechanisms linking interactive infographics with individuals’ cognitive responses en route to learning, we test a model with interface assessment, absorption, and elaboration as key mediators of information acquisition. Overall, the findings point to a negative impact of interactive infographics on news consumers’ memory. However, allowing users to interact with information displayed in graphics cannot be expected to uniformly affect the learning process; instead, the impact of interactive visual content depends on how the use of specific interactive modalities initiates both affective and cognitive processes in audiences when reading online news.


experiment, infographics, interactivity, learning, online news

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