Infographics are out of control

This year to date the stream of infographics seems to be out of control. Every day there is a new infographic that tries to explane some phenomenon. If I search twitter for #infographic I get 20 more results within 5 minutes! Again triggered by Juuso Koponen I feel that most of these infographics are not adding the value they should and could. Juuso posed that infographics should reduce data and junxtapose data. I would like to add that they should be visual attractive and recognizable. This makes the visual experience more profound, fun and adds to comprehension.

But most infographics comply with the first requirement. Mostly these infographics consist of a large number of sub-infographics, this means they actually try to cover a lot of different data. For these individual infographics they reduce data somewhat. These infographics do not add value and help comprehension by the reader because it actually takes a lot of time to understand the complete infographic. The usage of text in maybe half of all infographics actually supports my theory. The infographic is not self explanatory if you need more than a sentence of, lets keep it simple, 140 characters to make your point. So lets add another item to the list of requirements for a good infographic: 80/20 rule for visual/text data.

The complete list would be:

  • reduce data for emphasis
  • juxtapose data for comparison
  • beautify data for inspiration and recognition
  • use max 20% text to support the visual

What do you think? Do we need to simplify infographics to add value again?

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