Infographics are used to transmit messages more effectively and efficiently to an audience. However, in this example showing the costs from the war between the US and Iraq, it does not allow the viewer to quickly scan this visual and get a full idea of what the main message is. The Research in Design reading by Martin states that the less complex a design, the more ambiguous and less interesting it tends to be. I disagree with this to a certain extent due to design examples like this. I think that because this visual is so complex, a viewer may make the attempt to try to decode the information presented, however if it takes them longer than a few seconds they might simply lose interest and misinterpret the intended message.
The center of this design visual is the “Three Trillion Dollars” text showing lines that connect it to other components and icons. The subheading list on the right uses numbers to show the main steps listed from lowest to highest. The colours of the text should have been more consistent instead of putting some in grey, blue or red which can confuse the viewer into thinking that some steps are more important than others. Even the text itself does not appear to be in the same font size. For example Step 4, “Operational and Peacekeeping Costs” is shown in a smaller font size than “Troops Withdrawal” which isn’t even an actual step on the list.
The same shape style for the subheadings should be used instead of having some larger than the others. Additionally, the spatial orientation of the subheadings and icons are a bit confusing. Starting off it is somewhat easy to locate Step 1, but then placing Step 2 at the bottom and putting Step 3 above it can be disconcerting. Once your eyes move towards Step 5, you are able to easily move down and see Step 6, Step 8 and Step 9 listed together facing downwards, but where is Step 7? Step 7 is situated in the center so it can be a little hard for a reasonable person to follow clearly as their eyes have to move from the right back to the center of the visual. The lines that connect each step are not the same either. Could the black solid lines joining the parts together have a different meaning than the three striped coloured lines?
There are also a lot of objects used in each section that can distract the viewer. Even if they are applicable to each subheading the designer should have chosen maybe one or two icons or symbols to tie into each step. For instance, showing one hot air balloon connected to an army tank might have been more effective instead of showing three. If this infograph was not overcrowded with so much detail and instead focused on one or two important points based on the observed data, it probably would have been more effective.