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Edward Tufte and Information Design for the Web

Reprise of my 2009 presentation for Refresh the Triangle

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Edward Tufte &
Information Design
For the Web

© 2011 NATHAN HUENING   sprockethouse.com   12 March 2011   Chapel Hill, NC
Dilbert Another Day in Cubicle Paradise
“   The fundamental task of the
    information architect is to
    make the information
    understandable.
    The goal is to clarify.


                                                Richard Saul Wurman Digerati

    © 2011 NATHAN HUENING   sprockethouse.com            12 March 2011   Chapel Hill, NC
Edward Tufte and Information Design for the Web
“   Insights into graphical
    design are to be gained, I
    believe, from theories of
    what makes for excellence in
    art, architecture, and prose.


                                           The Visual Display of Quantitative Information

    © 2011 NATHAN HUENING   sprockethouse.com                        12 March 2011   Chapel Hill, NC
Edward Tufte and Information Design for the Web
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Edward Tufte and Information Design for the Web

  • 1. Edward Tufte & Information Design For the Web © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 2. Dilbert Another Day in Cubicle Paradise
  • 3. The fundamental task of the information architect is to make the information understandable. The goal is to clarify. Richard Saul Wurman Digerati © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 5. Insights into graphical design are to be gained, I believe, from theories of what makes for excellence in art, architecture, and prose. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 7. Outline Information design principles Application to Web design © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 8. Tufte’s Information Design Principles 1 Graphics reveal data 2 To clarify, add detail 3 Small multiples invite comparisons 4 “Smallest effective difference” 5 Above all else, show the data © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 9. Principle 1 Graphics reveal data © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 13. Often the most effective way to describe, explore, and summarize a set of numbers... is to look at pictures of those numbers. Visual Display of Quantitative Information © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 18. Every bit of ink on a graphic requires a reason. And nearly always that reason should be that the ink presents new information. Visual Display of Quantitative Information 96 © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 20. Principle 2 To clarify, add detail © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 26. Information-sensitive designs are exacting and laborious, requiring a deep appreciation of the particular content at hand. Visual Explanations 148 © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 27. Principle 3 Small multiples invite comparisons © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 29. Multiple images reveal repetition and change, pattern and surprise—the defining elements in the idea of information. Visual Explanations 105 © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 30. Principle 4 The “smallest effective difference” © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 36. Now what can be eliminated? Frank Lloyd Wright © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 37. Principle 5 Above all else, show the data © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 47. It is all right to decorate construction, but never construct decoration. Robert Venturi Learning from Las Vegas © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 48. Tufte’s Information Design Principles 1 Graphics reveal data 2 To clarify, add detail 3 Small multiples invite comparisons 4 “Smallest effective difference” 5 Above all else, show the data © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 49. Application to Web Design 1 Design reveals content 2 To clarify, add detail 3 Design from the inside, out 4 Smallest effective difference 5 Above all else, show the content © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 50. Design is largely an exercise in creating or suggesting contrasts ... in an effort to convey meaning. Andy Rutledge A List Apart © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 51. Application 1 Design reveals data © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 52. Application 1a Contrast reveals data © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 53. Application 1b Contrast reveals information © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 54. Andy Rutledge A List Apart
  • 55. Information consists of differences that make a difference. Envisioning Information 65 © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 56. 1 2 3 4 5 6
  • 57. Application 2 To clarify, add detail © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 58. 1 List your bits 2 Figure out which bits relate 3 Assign priorities 4 Design each bit 5 Assemble bits 37Signals An Introduction to Using Patterns in Web Design
  • 67. Application 3 Employ the smallest effective difference © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 73. I’ve never liked the adage Less is more... I say Less is better, which is neither cute nor clever, but almost always true. John Gruber Independent Days © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 74. Application 4 Design from the inside, out © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 80. Copywriting is interface design. Great interfaces are written. ... Good writing is good design. 37Signals Getting Real © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 81. Application 5 Above all else, show the content © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 88. In an architecture of content, the information becomes the interface. Visual Explanations 146 © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 93. Aesthetics matter: attractive things work better. Donald Norman Interactions Magazine © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 94. Applications to Web Design 1 Design reveals content 2 To clarify, add detail 3 Design from the inside, out 4 Smallest effective difference 5 Above all else, show the content © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 95. ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks and feels like. Design is how it works. Steve Jobs NYTimes Magazine © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC
  • 96. Thank you This has been a Sprocket House production. © 2011 NATHAN HUENING sprockethouse.com 12 March 2011 Chapel Hill, NC