The Guardian recently published a gallery of 16 useless infographics – essentially 16 graphics that don’t actually convey information. The gallery itself provides some chuckles and amusement over design flaws and miscalculated attempts to jump on the infographic trend that is so popular right now. Beyond that, however, the gallery provides an opportunity to spend time discussing with students what makes a good, a bad, and an ugly or “useless” infographic.
Take for example this infographic displaying recruitment numbers for nurses, and then read the explanation the Guardian provides below:
“[It] shows the increase in the number of nurses – which is factually correct – the only problem is that you get a very different sense of scale from studying the image than you do if you just glance at it. Four stick people represent 43,000 nurses – so why are 28 more stick people used to represent an increase of just 3,000 nurses? That’s a 700% infographic explosion to show a 7% increase. We can only assume someone leant on the paste key.”
This is a valuable lesson for students in really taking in the information that is presented to them, and a possibility for a discussion on how misrepresenting data can affect a viewer’s understanding of a concept or idea. Being aware of the media and information that is constantly put in front of them is to me, a valuable lesson for everyone to learn, not just students.
Happy discerning, y’all!