How to Lie With Infographics

Among the oldish books I hope I’ve kept, but I haven’t seen for a while, is How to Lie with Statistics. This misleading art has become even more important of late, with the ease of posting infographics to the web.

So I was particularly interested to see a post on Smashing about misleading infographics. The emphasis is on inadvertently misleading infographics.

If you design a visualization before correctly understanding the data on which it is based, you face the very real risk of summarizing incorrectly, producing faulty insights, or otherwise mangling the process of disseminating knowledge. If you do this to your audience, then you have violated an expectation of singular importance for any content creator: their expectation that you actually know what you’re talking about.

I’m more concerned about deliberately misleading infographics. The post does mention them, and the book does include some misleading graphs.

I see an opportunity (although not one I’ll be pursuing myself). A blog that collects misleading infographics, and may well turn into a book.

WordPress and Joomla: Smashing Comparison

Once upon a time, choosing a Content Management System was a matter of finding the CMS that could do what you needed it to (if you doubt this, you might want to see the fussy notes at the bottom of this post). Over time, though, CMSs have tended to become more capable and more similar to each other. And so, according to Marco Solazzi at Smashing Magazine:

Picking the right CMS is then a matter of “mental models”: choosing the one that best fits our vision of how a Web application should work and what it should provide to users and administrators.

Marco goes on to compare the respective models of WordPress and Joomla, with particular emphasis on themes and extensions. I skimmed and nodded my way through the WordPress parts, and had some “that’s… different” thoughts on the Joomla parts. My reaction, of course, backs up the above quote from Marco.

Looking at the comments on Marco’s article, many of them are similar to mine: I’m used to WordPress (or Joomla), and so lean towards it. There are several What about Drupal? comments. There are also a some links to other comparisons between CMSs. By the way, I compared WordPress and Drupal recently, but not in any great detail. Summary: the two are becoming more similar.

That brings us back to, and reinforces, Marco’s above-quoted point about how CMS choices are made these days.

Fussy footnotes:

  1. I suspect that developers have long tended to go with their favorite CMSs. People in general tend to use the tools they know and like.
  2. I still consider CMS to be a very strange term.