May 10, 2010
Among the oldish books I hope I’ve kept, but I haven’t seen for a while, is How to Lie with Statistics. This misleading art has become even more important of late, with the ease of posting infographics to the web.
So I was particularly interested to see a post on Smashing about misleading infographics. The emphasis is on inadvertently misleading infographics.
If you design a visualization before correctly understanding the data on which it is based, you face the very real risk of summarizing incorrectly, producing faulty insights, or otherwise mangling the process of disseminating knowledge. If you do this to your audience, then you have violated an expectation of singular importance for any content creator: their expectation that you actually know what you’re talking about.
I’m more concerned about deliberately misleading infographics. The post does mention them, and the book does include some misleading graphs.
I see an opportunity (although not one I’ll be pursuing myself). A blog that collects misleading infographics, and may well turn into a book.