|Click on the image to go to the Wired article.|
The splash page is a slick, colour-coded world map bestrewn (is that even a word?) with arrows indicating the origin, type and destination of global criminal activity. It's quite diverting to look at, but almost totally unrevealing. As one commenter put it: "Pretty vague, may as well have just drawn it in crayons and scribbled CRIME HAPPEN HERE."
Then you click through to various breakdowns by type of crime, with a whole series of radically over-egged schematics that offer you nothing more insightful than a bog-standard bar graph and are slightly more difficult to read.
Great infographics should be beautiful to look at, yes. But they should also multiply the impact of the data in some way.
If I'm getting an invitation, lubed up with the words 'organised crime', 'social network' and 'infographic', I'm expecting gloriously pretty pictures than stun me by revealing that the Cosa Nostra has more members than MySpace and that for every 'poke', somewhere in the world there's a 'whack'. I want a diagram comparing the social consequences of 'unfriending' Facebook style versus 'unfriending' Colombian cartel style. I want to know if the best route up the corporate greasy pole is Linked In or made man.
As it is, we have a glut of design porn chasing a scarcity of interesting data. Must try harder.