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Are infographics really better than bar charts in Kenya?

I always find research on data visualization (particularly on what works for different audiences) interesting, but also get frustrated when articles lead with sweeping conclusions that may be the resulted of a flawed study design (and a tiny sample of 49 people).

Internews recently conducted a study on data and visual literacy in Kenya. The big headline conclusion:

"Bubble charts have little to no traction with Kenyan audiences of print news. Bar charts, on the other hand, are generally considered more credible and “scientific.” But if you want interest and inferences drawn from the news you’re conveying, then the best ones to use are pictorial infographics."

Or so says the leading paragraph on their Medium article. It's important to note that the study tested understanding of the three different kinds of graphics (bubbles, bars, and infographics), but each graphic was focused on a different data story and quality of the design varied.

The pictoral infographic that scored best for recall of information was also focused on a data story about Kenya, where the other two examples (the bar charts and the bubble) were not as locally relatable, telling global data stories. 

The bar chart, while at East African context, is also not terribly well designed as far as bar charts go, so it seems an unfair comparison to the pictoral infographic.

I would love to see this study replicated with the same data story represented in three different well-designed visual graphics (of different types). Does anyone know of studies (from sub-saharan Africa in particular) with that kind of data?

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