Randy Krum
President of InfoNewt.
Data Visualization and Infographic Design

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U.S. Education vs. The World

U.S. Education vs. The World is a very cool infographic from MAT@USC.  You can imagine this data as a boring series of bar charts in an academic report, but the colorful, visual design here is fantastic.  The winding connecting lines can make it a little difficult for the reader to understand the data, but I think it also draws the reader in like a simple puzzle.

We’ve put together this infographic that compares the United States’ education spend and performance versus eleven countries.  The U.S. is the clear leader in total annual spending, but ranks 9th in Science performance and 10th in Math.

Thanks to Sarah for sending in the link!

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Reader Comments (5)

This is a horrible infographic. The sentence at the end

| The U.S. is the clear leader in total annual spending, but ranks 9th in Science performance and 10th in Math.

is a zillion times more effective than the picture.
May 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFred Zimmerman
Thanks for the post! I rather like the winding lines. It allows me to easily move from one row to another, tracking a given country's rank in different metrics. Without the lines and relying solely on color, it wouldn't be immediately obvious where a country is on the next line, especially if you're color blind (and I'm not).

I do wish school life expectancy was explained a little better. I take it they mean years spent in school and not the actual life expectancy of children that attend school. The use of the term is a little unclear.
May 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercurby
The issue is "right tool for the job". Infographics guys often seem to forget that text is super powerful and super compact.

The crossing lines just don't work. It would probably have been better to try adding a third dimension to the pie chart.
May 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFred Zimmerman
Text is also super dull. I admit the image is a little light on data, but I don't mind the design. Again, it ties the different metrics for a given country together, but it seems to be a quality of the image that I value more than you do. In that light, it makes sense that you'd see it as mere clutter.

That said, there are other ways of visualizing the data that might be even more telling. For example, science and math scores per dollar (or equivalent value) spent would be an interesting display.
May 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercurby
Visual information is just way too cool. Did you guys seen the one done on News of the World saga? http://creately.com/blog/diagrams/murdoch-the-news-of-the-world-saga-a-visual-timeline/
July 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRP
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