I really wish I could figure out what the point of this infographic is. Really. It borders on incomprehensible. What is so bad about it? Let me count the ways:
- No apparent order. Suicide is next to Lou Gehrig’s disease, motorcycle accidents aren’t next to car accidents… up top there’s a bit of coherence: the cancers are all together, and hypothermia, heatstroke, fireworks accidents, and plain old fire are side by side. That’s about it, though.
- No clues as to the criteria for selection. Some are big ones, some are absurdly tiny.
- The numbers. My god, the numbers. Why are they so many different sizes? Why are some of them text, and some numerical?
- Why the hell is there a big honkin’ gun in the middle when homicide isn’t even close to being one of the top causes?
One of my pet peeves is poorly made or highly incomprehensible graphs. Normally, things like graphs that don’t begin at zero, percentile graphs that don’t cover 0 to 100 (that might just be me), and the like annoy me. This is just depressing.
Frankly, I think this is a symptom of specialization. Researchers produce numbers, graphic designers produce infographics. Neither group is supposed to waste time learning the skills of the other. The result: graphs that are pretty but incomprehensible, or graphs that are comprehensible but intensely boring.