The Bermuda Democratic Alliance released their economic platform today and while they get points for effort do they seem to miss the mark in a number of areas? Unfortunately their actual platform document (aside from the link on their website not supporting Chrome) doesn’t contain the solutions they outline in their press conference speech. The formatting and design of the document is quite appealing and gets off to a good start but unfortunately some of the graphics are not very clear.
Let’s take the following page as an example.
The concept is a good one, show our debt and show how our government is overspending. Unfortunately the execution of it is less obvious. There is only a subtle difference in the size of the expenses arrow vs. the income arrow. Are they also trying to imply that expenses are rising and income is falling? It’s not obvious. This understates the severity of the situation.
Subsequently the stick figures with $25k listed next to them looks more like they’re cheering as having received $25k rather than what the fine print outlines that we’re all about $25k in debt.
A clearer illustration of our debt, expenses and income would have helped alongside a picture clearly depicting the severity of the burden we face. Ie, a google search for “clipart person carrying burden” reveals this image which can be purchased in multiple sizes for less than $5.
That’s just one example of many possibilities. When trying to get a message across to people it’s important to note that you only have a matter of seconds to capture their attention. Subsequently most people don’t have the background to know what you’re trying to say. To many people $850 million is a meaningless number. It’s big, but many don’t truly appreciate how big.
It’s important to put things into a context that people can readily appreciate. Let’s say government in 12 years in power has accumulated $850 million in debt (not entirely sure what the actual number is). Equate that to affordable homes at $500k apiece by taking a clipart picture of a home like the one below and put $500k in place of the “For sale”.
Then show what $850 million worth of affordable homes looks like by drawing out 1700 of them below the larger home image. Suggest this is how many affordable homes we could have bought with what we’ve already spent in debt and ask how many affordable homes we’ve actually gotten?
There’s value in simplifying a message so that it can be consumed as fast and as easily as possible. It means people will get it. Unfortunately if you don’t, there will be a lot of people left scratching their heads wondering what you were trying to say.