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