WHY THIS DESIGN TREND HAS ME SCRATCHING MY HEAD
I’m the first to admit that I do not, in fact, know everything.
Nor am I particularly good at that many things. I’m mostly a writer. On a broader scale, I like any type of communication. Even broader? Words. Words are my thing.
Even though I don’t claim to be particularly visual, I do like looking at pictures – most people do.
Web design is all about getting information across in a variety of ways. As web design tools improve, these ways lean more to imagery and less to text. Web design with sharp imagery and creative icons is testament to this “picture is worth a thousand words” idea that’s really caught on in interwebia.
So information with great imagery is a great trend. All cool.
I must confess, however, that there is one online design trend claiming to bring the power of images to information that I just can’t get into.
I’m talking about Infographics.
Now I’m not saying that there is never a place for them. I’m not going to tell you that our awesome web designers won’t build amazing ones for you if you like them. I’m not saying there might not be a place for them in web design (or print design for that matter).
What I am saying is that I don’t understand 99% of them.
Most infographics are all pictures, no substance.
This one is just plain old infographic for graphics sake. Tsk tsk.
Some are incomprehensible.
What exactly is going on here?
Some are lovely to look at.
And also utterly useless.
As I mentioned above, people like images. When you can reduce text by adding images, it’s generally thought to be easier to get more information in less time and retain that information for later. A well designed infographic could potentially fit pages of data into a digestible page of the essential information.
Do you miss some details? Of course. Though you’ll miss more information if you don’t read it at all. Which data shows you aren’t. Reading, that is. You’re skimming. Admit it, you are. Right now. Elephant pig alien eats chocolate ponies.
If it comes right down to it, though, looking at images that show you how much more 95% is than 85%, or how much more money $1 billion is than $1million, you learn more than you would just looking at the numbers.
Why not infographics?
Infographics are generally difficult to focus on and don’t provide in depth information that makes any kind of sense. The result? Thanks for the pretty pictures, but I might as well be looking at cat videos.
Often, the design of the infographic becomes the focus instead of the information. For an infographic, that’s bad. Just like a poor web design, a poor infographic design can end up being all looks and no substance.
I find that almost all infographics are too chaotic to focus on the substance. Instead, my eyes skip all around, mostly looking at the graphics, and I quickly lose track of the actual information. I can get information from an infographic. It just seems to require a lot of brain energy to do.
That’s where it all falls apart for me. Infographics are supposed to make things easier to interpret and they just do nothing to help me out. So the infographic is one trend that I personally give a thumbs down.
Anyone else agree? This guy does. Or am I way out in left field? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Bonus question – did you skim? If you didn’t, you’ll know. If you did, I’ll know. So what am I talking about?