Who doesn’t love a good infographic?
When done well, they concisely present information in a way no narrative story could, helping you see comparison and draw conclusions you wouldn’t be able to pinpoint on your own. But when they’re done poorly, or worse unnecessarily, they muddle information for the sake of being an infographic.
The goal of a designer is to make information more accessible and readable, whether it’s by choosing the perfect font to convey a mood, layout to draw readers through, or graph to show off data as only graphs can do. But when unprecedented amounts of data and graphics software fall into the hands of the masses, color and quantity sometimes trump care and quality.
Grace Dobush at HOW Interactive Design is on a campaign to stop the madness. In her post, Quit it With All the Infographics Already, she points out several good reasons to think before inking an infographic, including:
- Most infographics aren’t accessible for the visually impaired.
- Most infographics aren’t search-engine optimized.
- Those super-long infographics are practically useless on a mobile device.
- Of all online infographics, 89% contain statistics of dubious veracity. (Err, percentage is madeup, which is sort of her point.)
- Many infographics are just plain bad.
That’s not to say there aren’t reasons to use graphics. There are plenty of awesome graphical stories on news sites and blogs today. 10,000 Words highlights them often. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you need to go graphic goofy.
You should go read the rest of the post to get more background on those valid points, and to get HOW Magazine’s pointers on how to avoid falling into the infographic trap and responsibly create them.
(The image on this post, by the way, comes from Indexed, a comic of sorts drawn on index cards and using only charts. I’m not saying the charts are bad, but I’ll admit I’ve scratched my head in confusion at a few of them.)