Reader Rules

Two identical images in a row. Did I make a mistake and post twice?

Not so long ago, I’d have shied away from posting this mess I caused when I carelessly moved the pen just after I’d dipped it in ink. It looks ugly, and it’s the first thing I (& possibly you my one reader) notice. The quote fades into the background. I’m hardwired to see the thing that sticks out, in this case the ink blot. Its a reminder that mistakes happen, and that’s okay.

It also brought back the incident from earlier today when I saw a rather poorly designed infographic slide. It was truly hard for me to read, even when enlarged. The intent of the communication was laudable; and may have achieved it’s intent were it not so hard to read. I made my comments, as the author had requested, for a single improvement.  It clearly offended the designer of the infographic. I received a message privately asking if I needed new glasses, if I didn’t know how to enlarge it. I did get new glasses not so long ago, and I am not entirely a noob with technology.  I was momentarily taken aback, until I remembered Adrienne’s Yoga instructions: “my breath is my anchor.”

Feeling aside, I got wondering about friction in communication. A well designed infographic is for the reader.  Not the designer. Chartjunk is to be avoided – rare exceptions excepted. Use color to direct attention. Making a reader click multiple times to get to text in 8 point, where most of the great insights lie, is likely to disengage the reader.

Note to self: Make it easy for the reader. If they won’t read it because it’s too hard to read, what was the point of all the work?

Second note to self: Reconsider critique / feedback in public forums. Private messages sting but allow people to save face. Appreciation in public forums gets you friends 🙂