Be warned, I’m about to complain about infographics – again. Since nobody could find the answer to the question ‘what has there not been an infographic of?’, it seems someone decided to do an infographic of infographics.
To compound my belief that the infographics approach is getting everywhere (in many cases where it’s not needed) I came across these mobile phone price plan tables on the o2 website.
Does anyone think those circles make anything clearer? I reckon they just confuse things, putting all the emphasis onto the minutes and making the other information look supplementary. In some ways that’s not a bad thing because the other information isn’t particularly clear, but at least it’s in a format that makes it easy to compare products.
These circles highlight a common mistake with representing data: that of using size to represent quantity. This gets a bit mathsy, but bear with me: the common mistake is to make a circle (or square) twice as wide and twice as high in order to represent twice the quantity. In fact, doubling the height and width gives four times the area, so should represent four times the quantity.
To compound the problem (in my eyes anyway) the business equivalent of this page contains the same problems repeated. The problems with the sizes of circles not being truly representative of the number of minutes now has the added problem of the same size circles being used to represent different amounts of minutes – rendering either the numbers or the size of the circles a pointless exercise.