‘ll be the first to admit. I love geeking out to a good infographic. There’s nothing better than seeing data displayed in a clean, aesthetically pleasing way. Unfortunately, as the number of infographics online continues to skyrocket, so does the number of really bad ones. Here’s five signs your infographic is misleading or downright awful.
1. The percents don’t add up to 100%.
Now, I know the fancy pants mathematicians can make up numbers and have perfectly justifiable reasons for doing so. However, when you are talking about percentages or fractions, it should always add up to 100% or 1. End of Story.
2. Information Overload
Infographics are best used to visualize small amounts of data. If you have too much data that you are trying to compare, it is guaranteed to confuse 99.9% of people. The .01% left are the fancy pants mathematicians I mentioned in the point above.
So, abide by the KISS principle: Keep it Simple, Stupid!
3. It’s not set to scale.
I can’t stress this enough. All things should be set to scale. For example, 3/4 should look like 75% of what ever object you are showing and vice versa.
4. Faulty analogies or comparisons
Infographics should compare apples to apples. Not apples to bananas to kiwis. Putting two completely unrelated stats together doesn’t make your infographic more compelling. In fact it just makes it really, really misleading.
5. The infographic is too busy.
Infographics are a form of art. They should be organized, clean and clutter free (a.k.a. no text over photos, or large amounts of text or photos in a small area) in order to get your point across.
Just like for headlines, use the 3 second rule. If it takes a person more than 3 seconds to get the gist of what’s going on, you are probably doing something wrong.
What are some other infographic no-nos? Please share in the comment section below.