By Frances (Fran) Miller
While in a rotation with Maryland Food Bank, I was able to refine my skills in creating infographics and writing. It was important to understand my audience to create an end product that suited them best. By creating a product targeted towards a specific audience, the information can be both applicable and interesting to your audience.
MFB provides food but also helps clients make healthy informed meal decisions. Infographics are used to provide important health information in an easy to understand format. These infographics are distributed in tandem with recipes; each infographic focuses on a component of the recipe it is paired with. While in my rotation at MFB, I was tasked with creating infographics that helped inform and entice participants to use the knowledge provided in making future decisions.
While creating these infographics, I was able to learn more about the community they serve. It was difficult at first to predict what reading level and topics would best suit their average participant. For example, I created an infographic for peanut butter. Knowing that this is a common allergen, I wanted to mention some alternatives for those unable to eat peanut butter. After doing some background work, I later realized alternatives to peanut butter would likely be too expensive for many of MFB’s clients. I later applied this knowledge to avoid costly alternatives when making an infographic about dairy.
To ensure the text was easy for participants to read, I began using an online tool to assess the reading level of my writing. I then adjusted my writing to make my infographics more accessible. I also added additional recipe ideas that I sourced from the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP). I used SNAP because they create recipes that use just a few inexpensive ingredients and basic kitchen equipment.
This experience taught me to gear my language and content to my target audience. I learned to strike a balance between under and over estimating clients’ knowledge base. If I overestimate how much they know about the topic, the infographic would be too difficult to understand and would be inaccessible. If I underestimate the clients’ knowledge, they won’t learn anything new and may even be insulted. Either way, the infographic will not serve its intended purpose.
Through this process, I was able to better understand my audience to create a product that would be accessible and helpful to them.