Monday, August 17, 2009

In Defense of Information Design

Interesting example of information design done wrong. I'm not sure /i completely understand the "after" example, but it's much better than the before.


Political Chart Wars: Health-Care Reform Obfuscated by Infographics - information aesthetics
Recently, Rep. John Boehner, an American politician of the Republican Party who is currently serving as the House Minority Leader in Congress, released an information chart illustrating the organization of the House Democrats' health plan. As some insist, the problem with this chart is that it seems to have been optimized by Republicans to support their contention that this bill is overly complicated and a bureaucratic nightmare. The chart itself [] has touched some nerves, in particular in the field of infographic design, evidenced by a redesigned version and a quite emotional accompanying letter ...
Robert Palmer's redesign and open letter to Rep. Boehner @

From Palmer's letter:
Dear Rep. Boehner,

Recently, you released a chart purportedly describing the organization of the House Democrats' health plan. I think Democrats, Republicans, and independents agree that the problem is very complicated, no matter how you visualize it.

By releasing your chart, instead of meaningfully educating the public, you willfully obfuscated an already complicated proposal. There is no simple proposal to solve this problem. You instead chose to shout "12! 16! 37! 9! 24!" while we were trying to count something.

So, to try and do my duty both to the country and to information design (a profession and skill you have loudly shat upon), I have taken it upon myself to untangle your delightful chart.


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