Tufte complete... Book4


I've finished all the books now, this one was easily as good as his later books. The Visual Display of TufteBook1Quantitative Information offers practical advice and clear examples; I can see how this was the springboard for his later works.

I'm going to end this Tufte series with a quote from the book shown on the right; here Tufte is talking about designs for the display of information, but I think it equally applies well to software development and design:

What is to be sought in the designs for the display of information is the clear portrayal of complexity. Not the complication of the simple; rather the task of the designer is to give visual access to the subtle and the difficult - that is,

the revelation of the complex.

Personally, I think all software development and design boils down to the management of complexity, at some level or other. What I see in Tufte's words is simply:

Manage complexity; avoid making the simple complex.

The second part is always tricky - especially when designing at the keyboard. Turning a simple solution into a complex implementation is obviously undesirable (albeit quite common), to learn that the same is true for information design is not that surprising I guess, and it probably holds true for many other technical fields as well, I'm sure.

I am a little sad that I have finished this series and I will continue to blog about Tufte occasionally and I will also continue to follow his work. I do feel that I've savoured, enjoyed and poured over each book, but I cannot hear soon enough that there is another book coming from Graphics Press on information design.


Finally, my greatest hope is that you've been inspired to take a look at this fascinating field yourself - I would love to hear about your adventures with information design and Tufte, what you have done or plan to do, please drop me a line and share the wealth.

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