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This infographic was submitted to us by the good people at MapsZipCode, who say of it, “The first decade of the 21st century will go down as one of the most turbulent decades in the history of the United States (from 9/11 to two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the explosion of the national debt…). This infographic compares the changes at the beginning and the end of the first decade.”
The data within is fascinating, and held my attention throughout. I love the color scheme; it’s inviting without being flashy. The two-sided horizontal bar graph at the bottom of the infographic is also pretty interesting, and there is really not much text that isn’t represented by an image. It’s also extremely thorough without being boring.
On the critical side, much of the data visualization gets repetitive, and isn’t as unique as I’d like to see. About half of the data is represented in arrows and bar graphs. I love the gas pump visualization, even, as an inventive way to house a very simplistic spread of data. So, a little more ingenuity in originality would be great to see here. The Budget Distribution pyramid was a little hard to interpret, especially at the microscopically small top tiers, since the pyramid representing the year 2000 didn’t have any of the labels attached. Percentages, while a little boring, might have made this statistic more effective. While I think budget distribution is crucial and engaging data, the impact of its redistribution over the last decade is lost in the very minorly different pyramids.
Overall, I’d give this infographic a B: it’s clean and professional, well-organized, and highly informative, if a little dry. A good example of not letting text drive your infographic. You can’t have “infographic” without “graphic.” (Or “info.”)0