Infographics: real info or power tool?

by Helene

Information graphics or infographics are graphic visual of information, data or knowledge  about a specific subject or combining related subjects. The idea is to represent complex information in a quick and clear manner, with the purpose of being available for comprehension whatever the cultural or educational background.

Leonardo da Vinci may have been an infographer genius!

Also in 1972 the Pioneer Plaque was launched into space with the Pioneer 10 probe. Inscribed into the plaque was an information graphic intended as a kind of interspace “message in a bottle”  designed by Carl Sagan and Frank Drake.  That was to communicate with other forms of life in the universe!

Infographics includes information such as in signs, maps, journalism, technical writing and education. Here for instance, like in most large cities, the complicated network of the Washington underground is simplified as was the London underground map. People visually know where’s the location of something by recalling to mind the underground map.

With an information graphic, computer scientists, mathematicians, and statisticians develop and communicate concepts using a single symbol to process information to make it a lot easier to “digest”.

As the increase in constant information with TV and radio channels surrounds us, giving us up to date information about every thing that happens in the world, instantly, simplifying this enormous amount of information is crucial.
Infographics are becoming a great way for all kinds of businesses to pass on information on interactive screens and bring in more people to visit.

The advent of smartphones makes information spread immediately over mobile networks. Personalizing interests allows for information such as sports, market shares, interest rates, payments due, GPS location of friends or favorite shops in the vicinity of your current location on the screen of your mobile phone, whether you are in Timbuktu, Mali, Sydney Australia or Santiago Chile.

Information has become power. With this bombarding of information, data visualization has the power to change the world by changing our habits, our laws, our business strategies and what we understand about the world around us.  How we understand   data forms the foundation of how we make choices, form opinions, and at least one study claims that up to 80% of the human brain is wired just to interpret and remember visual data.

It can make you enjoy something you really didn’t like but its visual representation suddenly makes it accessible. I really cannot stand the Tour de France, but this picture makes it almost interesting…


To sum it up, data visualization makes things easier to understand.  It puts data into context and allows the viewer to see large data sets summarized in a much smaller space.  However, it can also summarize to a point where information can be misinterpreted by the viewer taking away its context and details to be included. The more you simplify the easier it becomes to understand, but also, the less you need to explain.  Another powerful tool for misinformation.