Below is one of the many infographics found on in the article 16 Infographics About Infographics – Urlesque. Most of them are biting graphs mocking the phenomenon of making those pretty graphs in the first place. Considering that I’m a big fan of these graphs, why would I share this harsh article? I share it because they’re right.
People accuse infographics and their creators of taking somewhat skewed and poorly gathered information and presenting it in the most glossy way possible. Besides the fact that they’ve just described some marketing, regardless of all their faults they are a wonderful way to engage people who generally fear numbers and statistics. The problem is in the data. That’s why I’ve thoughts of a few rules for critiquing infographics:
- Question the creator. If the person who created the graphics obviously has a conflicting interest in what’s presented, reevaluate what they’ve presented.
- Check how many people were questioned for the statistics. 67% of 1000 is very different than 67% of 15.
- Check the source of the numbers. I recently stumbled upon an infographic that pulled most of its data from Wikipedia. As informative as the site is, its not my most trusted place for concrete facts.
- Judge the clarity and flow. If you clearly see a connection and a “story” developing from top to bottom, someone’s at least put some effort into its creation. Flashy graphics everywhere can be fun but incomprehensible is incomprehensible.