The danger of data

One of the tasks of a graphic designer is to clarify information, especially complex information. And as data grows, the role of the designer becomes increasingly important. Trying to make sense of data and do it in a way that it advances learning, rather than just creating more eye candy is critical. And believe me, with the holidays now just starting, the last thing I need is more eye candy.

IBM have a website, many eyes, that they call an experiment. You can enter search terms and find categories such as brand, and a number of data sets pop up that you can visualize in different ways. Below is an example of car brands visualized by peak price point. Now it doesn’t take a genius to realize that a Maserati is NOT priced at the same price point as a BMW, but the graphic would tell you otherwise.

So what is the value of this tool if the source data is incorrect. Oh, and by the way, the data source  is not cited.

It comes back to that rather tired , but increasingly apt adage, check the source. Although something is on the web, and it looks authoritative, and in this case is even backed by Big Blue itself, well it doesn’t mean anything.

Don’t believe everything you read … or see.

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