Worst Infographic Yet: AlertMe Energy

by on January 24, 2010

(Apologies to Mike Elgan for the headline on this one)

Those in the UK who want to use Google Power Meter can do so using a wireless doobrie from AlertMe Energy. Nothing wrong with that, but words fail me at the staggeringly bad information visualisation on their site. I hardly know where to begin with this:

You’d think that people involved in making us aware of energy consumption would have some clue about how to actually present the data. But look at this. Just look at it. Worse than what? Compared to when? Per what? Population adjusted? Last updated? Why the map and the dial? I’m all for fun and frolics, but really, it has to have at least some underlying integrity!


That implies they might get better. Here’s hoping.

Incidentally, you might think I’m over-reacting here. Consider though that an inability to understand statistical information can and does affect people’s lives to a very negative extent. Crassly misleading presentations of data like this are a case in point. In extremis, this is the future of mankind’s survival on earth we’re talking about here. Handling a serious subject with levity is admirable; distorting or mis-managing the facts is inexcusable.

Well, you have to ask whether the graphics are either helping to interpret, or revealing any insight into, the data. At least, that’s what a statistical graphic must do in order to be useful. This example is simply a bunch of cruft around some figures that looks sort of nice.

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