Being an attendee at the American Evaluation Association, there is some talk about infographics, but it seems to be limited (obviously) to the Data Visualization and Reporting TIG. What are these practitioners and researchers saying about the infographics? Well… they are horrible. The creativity may be nice, but they are not practical. The data may be extensive, but remains deceiving and lacks simplicity. The design is intensive and initially captivating, but results in confusion and misunderstanding. More is not always better.
Are Infographics just a fad of our times? When looking at fads, we ask ourselves a very important question: Is “x” adding value to our field or society? So… are infographics adding value to the field of data visualization and/or informatics? Let’s say they are adding value for now. If so, then there needs to be an intentional effort to improve the quality, data, and visual aspects of the infographic. Along with citing the sources from which the data was acquired, there should be research and reasoning with why graphics are made. The infographic should not just be something that anyone can throw together. To improve the sustainability of a “tool” within the field of data visualization and informatics, the design and methodology of creating an infographic should be researched and taken seriously in terms of the following components:
- Design (color, size, etc.)
- Content (Reliable/vetted sources, citations provided, etc.)
- Data Analysis (Appropriate methodology, accurate representation, etc.)
- Simplicity versus Complexity (If the visualization is complex – is there a need for the complexity?)
Imagine a world where anyone and everyone are making infographics and there is a lack of quality to the content… lack of simplicity to the design… lack of understanding of data dissemination. As far as evaluators are concerned, this is the world we are living in today. There is software, self-proclaimed professionals, and free aid when it comes to the creation of infographics. Let’s make an effort to sustain infographics as a tool within the field of data visualization and not allow them to just be a fad of our times.