In other words: If we accept that an infographic is, at its core, a tool, what tasks is this one intended to help me with? Here is my personal list for the Brazilian defense graphic: 1. The graphic must present several variables—armed forces personnel, population to be defended, defense budget, and so forth—so that I have the proper information in front of me. 2. It should allow comparisons. At a glance, I should be able to tell which country has the biggest and the smallest army, is more or less populated, or invests more heavily or lightly in its military. 3. It should help me organize countries, from the biggest to the smallest, based on the variables and the comparisons. 4. It should make correlations evident to me. For instance, are population and size of defense forces directly and perfectly proportional?

Of those four possible tasks—present, compare, organize, correlate—the graphic accomplishes just one satisfactorily. It presents tons of variables and values. But it doesn’t show them in proportion to one another. This makes it impossible for readers to dig into the data. [...] From a functional standpoint, there’s little difference between this graphic and a simple table. The graphic may be prettier, but it still makes you work too hard to extract basic meanings.

« In other words: If we... »

A quote saved on Feb. 26, 2013.


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