Infographics-When reading is out-of-fashion

For my third and final experiment I wanted to embrace the goal of radically transforming my origin piece. I started this whole journey with a short journal entry, and have tried to transform it so far into a rap song and a forum post. Especially with my second experiment, I have felt as if I am too entrenched in the linguistic mode when I approach my genre selection. Thankfully, a timeless adage came to me: a picture is worth a thousand words. Think about that ratio for a second. I could use just half a picture and already meet the requirement for this blog post I’m writing. That’s efficiency, plan and simple. Thus, I settled on creating an infographic as my third experiment.

In broad strokes, an infographic is a data-driven image that uses effective design to educate its audience. If that wasn’t a satisfying enough description, here’s a link to infographic explaining what an infographic is (now that’s what I call meta!). An infographic is basically the greatest PowerPoint slide in the world. It takes a bunch of dry statistics and morphs it into a palatable visual, as opposed to just inundating readers with paragraphs. The maxims of a good infographic are data density and clarity. Much like an overenthusiastic mother going on a 2-day vacation, a good infographic needs to pack a lot into a small package.

Infographics also lean heavily on the spatial and visual modes as a means on communication. The makers of great infographics understand that, just like getting measles or lead paint, reading is a holdover from the 20th century. In the Internet age less needs to be more, and oftentimes a good picture can express big ideas much easier than the equivalent requisite words. In addition, backing up data with visuals is a powerful instructional tool. Infographics have been shown to be extremely effective in enhancing the appeal and retention of the data they present.

The genre, while clearly effective, is not without its risks. A huge issue with infographics is the misappropriation of the data they present. While these images make it very easy to get your point across, they also provide the less scrupulous with an avenue to present less-than-credible or deliberately misconstrued statistics. In a world where “95% of infographics from unknown sites are filled with distortions and lies”, it becomes paramount for someone making an infographic to double and triple check their sources, and to present their data in context it was gathered. While many infographics do reference their sources, this section is often tagged on at the end of the piece, and connecting a given source to a specific piece of data becomes a Herculean task.

Great example of a hodge-podge of sources that a reader will never follow up on

For my experiment, I am going to take my original journal and turn it into an infographic on caregiver burnout. This direction is a fairly big change in both medium and subject matter. I am moving away from the linguistic mode into a more strongly image driven piece. I am also expanding beyond my individual experience with my patient and addressing a wider phenomenon experience by hospice caregivers. My audience for this piece would be those very caregivers, as they are the group afflicted by caregiver burnout. The piece will also be relevant for coordinators of hospice programs, as it provides insight into difficulties experienced by the families of those requiring care. In presenting my piece, I could potentially submit it to my volunteer coordinator and see what she thinks. Our regular hospice emails make dissemination a non-issue. Overall, this experiment is shaping up to be an exciting new direction for my work!

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