Like many other fans of infographics, we were excited about today's launch of Visual.ly, a site that helps normal folk create infographics. The program just requires users to upload data, and it generates a pretty JPG with charts, graphs, and icons -- no PhotoShop skills required. Given the service's ease and availability -- it's free to join -- it will probably mean the proliferation of more infographics.
The definition of what an infographic is can be pretty broad. (Wikipedia's history of the form starts out with cave paintings.) But it's pretty clear to us that there are two crucial parts: information and graphics. Leave one out and you're stuck with info or graphics. So as the popular form continues to proliferate, here are a few of our rules of what makes a good, and bad, infographic.
1. Don't pack in too much info and not enough graphic. Some of the data visualizations out there rely to heavily on the stats and aren't very distinguishable from their less popular cousins: charts and tables. This graphic provides interesting information comparing data from three different schools in the Vancouver School District, in Washington. The accompanying charts don't do the stats justice.