The old cliché “a picture is worth a thousand words” has been around forever so there must be some truth to it. But only a certain kind of obsessive compulsive neurotic (often our favourite people) would go to the trouble to do the maths. David Ash, a consultant at Camwood, the application migration experts, is just such a neurotic.
As it turns out, a picture is worth at least 2,380 words (if ‘worth’ can be correlated with ‘weight in bits’ – a large, but not entirely implausible, ‘if”). Here are David’s workings out:
Average Image Size
As determined by Optimization Week (yes, there really is something to optimize every week)
Average Word Length
According to the recent (presumably unpaid) work of some Scrabble-happy academic.
11.9K = 11.9 x 1024 bytes = 12185.6 characters
12185.6 characters / 5.12 characters per average word = 2,380 words.
Even a measly 8-bit colour picture actually paints 2,380 words.
If the picture is made of pixels of greater colour depth, then multiply accordingly:
16-bit picture = 4,760 words
24-bit picture = 7,140 words
32-bit picture = 9,520 words
In other words, as David wriggled free from his straitjacket for long enough to state, “Even the lowest-grade picture actually paints twice as many words as originally thought.” David goes on to point out that the Chinese version of the proverb actually comes closest: “One picture is worth ten thousand words.”
Note to Velocity design team: ths does not mean your salaries should be 10,000 times higher than the copywriters. No one ever seaid the world was fair.
Thanks for the… uh… insight, David.
Photo: mindmapinspiration – flickr creative commons