Saturday, 18 October 2014

Infographic bug-bears

I'm quite a fan of using graphics to convey meaning; it's why I prefer to draw logic flow diagrams instead of writing walls of text to describe software functionality.  Inforgraphics, therefore, should be something that appeal to me... but they don't.
While flicking around my various email accounts, I found an email from the IT Job Board with their new infographic about wearable tech.
This is my reaction to it.

This is the graphic that spawned this post:

Obviously, too much air..
The first issue I have with it is the fact that it is huge and its orientation is not suitable for the vast majority of screens.. targeting mobile devices possibly, though size will still make it hard to view easily.
Secondly (bolstering the first issue), the real information (ie the links) are completely segregated from the graphics, requiring constant scrolling of its length.
Lastly, all the links cause the current page to reload rather than spawning new windows... evidently the authors put more importance on the link destination than their own document.

The Art Mallet
It's not all bad though.  It is a simple presentation.  This is a good thing, as there are some very convoluted graphics out there; far too much "graphic" and not enough "info".  The android update graphic is case and point  here  Not quite sure on the use of "awesome" in that title, unless "awesome" is long-hand for "WTF?".
It's these that require someone applying the "Art Mallet" ((c) John Tearle, Flix Interactive) to the artist.

So, changing the orientation . layout and putting the links in the bubbles would make for a far more usable and functional graphic in this instance.

It still uses hair to make a point..
Unfortunately, the erroneous graphic to information ratio and cumbersome navigation experience exists in a lot of graphics and is the main reason why I don't like them.  Their lack of attention to real interaction (as opposed to something someone glances at in passing on their iPad, muttering "Oh, good statistic..") make them the clip-on pony-tail of the information industry; acceptable in principle, but ultimately a short-cut for those trying to look like they are in with "the crowd"; the sort of thing conceived / used by people that didn't quite get business intelligence and dashboards.
The up-side of an actual clip-on being you can at least take it off and throw it away.

OK, so maybe that statement is a little harsh, but I stand by it in the case of the bad ones....

Information is the result of structuring data into a consumable format - if all you do is stylise the data, then the information is still potentially hidden from the consumer.

In a subsequent post, I intend to give my realist, knee-jerk reactions to the tech that the graphic was trying to tell us about, the reason why I kicked up Blogger to write a post in the first place! :)