A Zika Infographic – Pictures don’t solve everything?

Let’s talk about the pros and cons of this infographic from CNN











I’ll kick it off with an observation.

Critique #1

  1.  “101” is a reference to introductory college courses.  So if you haven’t gone to college, or aren’t familiar with course level numbers this is rather meaningless.

How about you?  Can you spot other complex hot spots?

2 replies
  1. jvingan
    jvingan says:

    I agree that this add is interesting and visually attractive, but just the addition of pictures does not simplify the message. The graphic still employs the same language for describing the mosquito and the disease transmission as was highlighted in your previous blog post about readability of Zika messages. I feel that it falls somewhere between the reading levels in the New York Times paragraph and your rewritten paragraph. Simple changes I see immediately are to replace the words “circulating,” “transmitted,” “fetuses,” and “infection” with synonyms of a lower reading difficulty. Additionally, the average individual may not know exactly what a virus is, let alone a flavivirus. The graphic points out twice the virus’ and mosquitos relationship to other viruses, but I feel space would have been better served to say this information once, and use more to describe the health risks for pregnant women and include a travel advisory. A graphic is a step in the right direction toward targeting messages to the general population, but it could have been done much more effectively.

    • ChrisZ
      ChrisZ says:

      I agree that infographics aren’t necessarily tools that aid comprehension. The vocabulary is an important part of the “load” (difficulty) of this collective message. I was listening to Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speak on Face the Nation this morning. He is often asked to speak publicly on infectious disease related issues and is often clear.
      With Zika today he made use of words like “transmission” “local transmitted cases” “robust season” “transmitted cases” “sustained and disseminated”.

      There is no reason to think that generally the public has the health literacy to understand what he was saying.

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