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Notes from the Tufte Course (Information Design)

+ The information is the interface
+ "No matter how beautiful an interface is, it would be better if there were less of it"
+ Play in the big leagues: see how your designs stack up to the best designers (and learn from it)
+ There is no such thing as information overload, only bad design

Other notes from the course:

  • Content driven vs. process driven
    • "How do I understand X" instead of "How do I Y X"
    • Don't pre-specify what you're going to do with your information
    • Inquire about the substance
    • Apply the "Whatever it takes" principle -> use any and all means necessary to communicate
    • Separating content by mode of production is NOT content-driven
    • Alphabetical order is usually useless (unless it's a phonebook)
  • Look for chart junk
    • You never need boxes
    • Replace junk with information
    • Chart junk is where flabby thinking lives
    • Think of maps: 100% content
  • Trust your audience
    • "We want an open mind… but not an empty head"
    • Let people use their own cognitive ability
    • Example of poor practice: the "slow reveal" shows contempt for the audience
  • Tips for Meetings
    • High res data dump followed by some explanation
    • Basically following rules of above – if you aren't working with idiots, don't treat them as such
    • Arrive early, finish early. People notice.

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