I made a trip to Ingles today to find an example of poor information design in the magazines they had for sale...and also to buy some milk. More often than not, I encountered effective information design in the magazines I looked through. However, I did come across an advertisement in the magazine PC World that was poorly designed. I initially thought the ad was for Microsoft Windows 8, but later realized after closer study that the ad in question was for a company called Cyber Power PC (www.cyberpowerpc.com). Essentially, this company configures and manufactures PC computers for gamers and other high-end users who want their technology personalized to meet their specific needs.
The example suffers from poor information design for two reasons: 1) Too much information, and 2) Too many numbers.
This is a form of information overload and occurs when the designer fails to consider functionality when presenting the information on the page. "The increased difficulty of finding and understanding" the information is the result (Katz 81). In the photos I provided, the focus on the lower half of the page, where the poor information design exists. There are three types of personalized computers shown, each geared towards the gamer user. Each computer features more or less the same type of information, but the specifications are different. (If you've ever bought a computer online, you've no doubt come across these long, detailed lists of specific components.) What jumps out at me about the specs section of the ad is how small the font is and the amount of information being presented. I don't believe it's necessary to list all six Intel processor sizes with their respective prices. The proper place to display that information would be the company's website, not a one-page ad. Directly below that section are affording icons within squares. These same icons appear below each of the three computer models, thereby making them redundant. Looking closely at the picture, you'll notice the words "Xtreme Gear" next to an icon of a keyboard and mouse. Personally, I consider that labeling unnecessary and another case of too much information.
Too Many Numbers
The ad includes many numbers describing the specs and models of the computers. This is necessary for this type of ad because it's important to reveal the specific amount of RAM, memory, and other details about the computer. The most salient number in the ad (and rightfully so) is the computer's price. But there are some unnecessary numbers as well. Returning to the section where the Intel processor sizes and prices are listed, there are numbers beginning each line which I assume are model types. This information should be restricted to the website because it's unclear what it represents. Therefore, the designer "failed to structure [these numbers] in a workable hierarchy" and the relationship between the numbers is ambiguous.