Edward Tufte: Key Take Aways


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Data is diplomatic and avoids person bias, numbers and words are great descriptors; no need for extra graphics or tables. Flat, adjacent space engages the audience. Avoid “time stacking” or “slide building.” If tables or graphics must be used the smaller and simpler the better. Emphasis on Work Streams and Information Summarization. Learn more.

Published in: Design

Edward Tufte: Key Take Aways

  1. 1. Presenting Data and Information Edward Tufte Key Take Aways Seth J. Gillespie, Ph.D.
  2. 2. Value Proposition ❖ Presenting data and information can be exciting, engaging, stimulating and thought provoking ❖ Data and information can be smartly summarized resulting in powerful memory and understanding “Powerful and information-dense graphics (shown) seems to have been lost in recent years in particular, the dumbing down of complex information into unending slide-decks.” — Edward Tufte
  3. 3. Keys for Success ❖ Data is diplomatic and avoids person bias ❖ Numbers and words are great descriptors; no need for extra graphics or tables ❖ Flat, adjacent space engages the audience ❖ Avoid “time stacking” or “slide building” ❖ If tables or graphics must be used the smaller and simpler the better
  4. 4. Keys for Success ❖ Limit introduction and conclusion to text ❖ Avoid un-needed graphics ❖ Think complex, “speak” simple
  5. 5. More Effective Meetings ❖ Distribute “pre-read” attachments at, or prior to meeting ❖ Allow for reading time; we can talk at around 100 WPM, but we can read at around 500 WPM ❖ Meeting leaders should take critical notes, cultivate respect and acknowledge limitations ❖ If a meeting doesn’t have an agenda, it’s automatically less important
  6. 6. More Effective Meetings ❖ Consider 11x17 handouts which can contain 4 times more information than a normal printout ❖ Summarize information, start first with the most important agenda items ❖ Effective materials are “flat” and avoid time and space stacking, i.e. there should be no build up ❖ Consider: what’s the problem, what’s the agreed solution, and why do people care?
  7. 7. Powerful Encounters ❖ Come prepared and open-minded ❖ Have a list, and include historic information if needed ❖ Don’t be premature diagnose ❖ Summarize agreements made ❖ Avoid using “mental” lists and recollections
  8. 8. Data Density ❖ Look at the typical road map or news paper; these convey both an abundance of information and pleasing white spaces ❖ Links to more detailed or referenced information are encouraged ❖ If possible show cause and effect ❖ “Annotate” diagrams, lines and even paragraphs of text ❖ One page status reports are opportunities to display complex information to team members ❖ Use lines to “link” information; but avoid stark shades simple and elegant
  9. 9. Image Repetition and Variation ❖ Convey complex concepts through image repetition and variation within a single graphic
  10. 10. Tips ❖ Avoid dramatic art that has no purpose or “data” value ❖ Avoid dark lines and harsh contrasting colors ❖ When in doubt keep information clean ❖ If boxes are needed, use gray ❖ Don't forget white space
  11. 11. Project Management Charts Emphasis on Work Streams and Information Summarization goo.gl/YN2XZB
  12. 12. Density
  13. 13. Thank you for reading my notes and key take-aways!
  14. 14. AboutDr. Gillespie is a popular educator, speaker, lecturer and subject matter expert in the field of IT Management, Project Management, Risk Management, Organizational Management, and large-scale Information Technology infrastructure projects, programs and portfolios, possessing over 20 years of real-world experience. In addition to speaking engagements, he has participated as a noted exam writer for numerous CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) and PMI (Project Management Institute) certifications. Gillespie earned a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Organization and Management, specializing in Information Technology Management, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with an emphasis in Technology Management, a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and a Minor in Economics. In addition he holds PMP® (Project Management Professional), PMI-ACP® (Agile Certified Practitioner), CSM® (Certified ScrumMaster), ITIL® (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) and CISSP® (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) credentials. In his free time, Gillespie enjoys traveling and assisting in social justice causes benefiting under-served groups worldwide. Visit the Author’s Website: books.sethgillespie.com Author’s Blog: blog.sethgillespie.com LinkedIn Profile: linkedin.com/in/sethgillespie Follow on Twitter: twitter.com/sg_phd
  15. 15. BooksbyDr.Gillespie books.sethgillespie.com