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A seemingly simpleton answer: I love the good ones, hate the bad ones. There's no point doing an infographic if it doesn't assist the viewer's understanding of the issues. But if you get it right, you can make a stronger point.

Robert Kosara

I wrote a posting about this last week, called The Visualization Cargo Cult. You can probably guess from that title what I think of the flood of bad and nonsensical infographics.


There's undoubtedly a desire among the creators of these things to "bring statistics to life". It's obvious that this goal is far from easy to achieve because not only are most people clueless about the underlying principles that might make that actually happen, but they would not recognise a good execution (as in revealing of the data) if it exploded in their custard. The future for infoviz is therefore bleak.


In fact thinking about this further ... not only do most people not have a clue about either the execution or the delivery of good infovis, they also don't have much of a handle on statistics and probability. This is a serious problem since it leads people to think it's acceptable to say something like "4 people of swine flu this week!!!" without any attempt to contextualise it with "... and last week it was 7, while there have been 800 deaths from common flu in the same period."

It seems to me that without also a decent grasp of probability and statistics, we can't really expect much.

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Marketing analytics and data visualization expert. Author and Speaker. Currently at Columbia. See my full bio.

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