If you wanted to catalogue the shit-eating complacency and pretentiousness of Web 2.0, infographics would be right up there with the damn TED conference and people who put “rockstar” on their business card.
Did someone really sit down one day and think “you know, unless we have the market share of the iPad illustrated as a pie chart shaped as an apple, people will think this statistic is too dry”? The story of the iPad is an interesting one: much, much more interesting than can be displayed in three factoids hastily put together in a crappy infographic. You don’t need an infographic to tell the story of a computer that is the size and form of a magazine. You need a writer.
Everyone keeps telling me that infographics are fine, and that I’m just getting stuck in Sturgeon’s Law. I keep hearing infographics designers turn up at design events talking about the awesomeness of infographics. But in my day to day life, I can’t remember ever seeing a good infographic. That is, I can’t remember ever seeing an infographic that made it worth the page taking even half a second longer to load.
I get these requests to run infographics on my blog all the time. Today I actually replied to one, asking me if I’d like to post something about the rise of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) fields. Interesting! Especially since a number of studies show that fewer women are pursuing STEM careers and that there is a growing gender gap in computing.
So, I replied saying that I’d take a look at the infographic and consider running it on the following terms:
- The information is based on respected, preferably peer reviewed, studies, and provides citations.
- The graphical display of the information provides insight that would not have been available through text.
- A textual summary of the infographic is also provided, to improve accessibility for readers who have trouble interpreting a graphic.
- The graphic is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution or Attribution-ShareAlike (CC-BY or CC-BY-SA) license.
I don’t expect a reply, but I’ll let you know if I get one. Now I just need to come up with similar terms for the dozens of people who keep asking to guest-post on my blog. I suspect the top condition would be, “I get to mock you and your post.” Especially that one that emailed me the other day, saying: “When searching Google for Open Source Development, we found a post on infotrope.net.” O RLY?