18 December 2014

Critique: The golden blogosphere

This poster comes from Joel Topf. Click to enlarge!

The idea of the layout is good. Having the text all concentrated in one short summary that looks like it can be read quickly may help viewers who want to skim. But some of this advantages are defeated because the poster is still extremely dense. For instance:

The address breaks the grid by curling around to the right of the “Introduction” heading. Those are too close. Each one is a separate element, and deserves its own defined space. Instead, the two sections are overlapping in space, and they will look better if separated.

A similar problem occurs with the bottom graph: its space is invaded by the graphs above. This is particularly noticeable where the “Total number of posts” graph (gray box) comes close to touching the blue data line in the graph below.

The text looks pretty brief, but wonder if it could be edited down even more. For example, I took this from 41 words:

Nephrology bloggers are rarely compensated and their writing is not usually considered part of academic production in regards to advancement. Without obvious advantages for the blogger, I thought that bloggers must thrive on internal enthusiasm and it may wane over time.

To 30:

Academic blogging is not usually rewarded in career advancement (e.g., tenure and promotion ). This suggests bloggers are intrinsically motivated, but this may wane if there are no extrinsic rewards.

The more you can edit, the more space you can open up.

I wanted a bit more guidance for all the data on the right side of the poster, so that I know what is being shown here. Some one sentence summaries next to the three main sections would be welcome.

The colours in the table are not explained anywhere. I am guessing “green”means statistically significant, and “orange” means... a decline in posts over time? Maybe that could be mentioned in the main text at the left.

The table is big and dense. Again, I wonder if it could be simplified, either graphically (first step: remove the vertical gridline!) or even removed. If I’m reading it right, some of the information in the table is repeated in the graphs to the right of the table.

The last line of the table - “Totals” - appears to be incorrect. It looks like most of those entries are means, not totals.

Also, the text mentions 30 blogs, but only 22 are plotted.

Where the QR code goes is a mystery. It’s a helps to tell people what they’ll get by scanning a code. Further, the bit.ly short link goes to the same site as the QR code. I suggest picking just one. I lean towards keeping just the QR code, because I have yet to see anyone type in that complicated alphanumeric short URL. But if both were left on the poster, I’d try to make the bit.ly URL the same width as the QR code.

Additional: Joel provides a well mannered response to my critique.

External links

Nephrology Blogosphere poster

No comments: