Edward Tufte – the information sage

Inom statistik men framförallt visualisering av statistik är Edward Tufte en gigant. Hans böcker är läsvärda samtidigt som de är vackra och faktiskt till praktisk hjälp. Tufte var professor på Princeton och Tale men är nu pensionär. Han är så pass bra att Obama i samband med den ekonomiska krisen utnämnde bl.a. Tufte att vara med och illustrera det ekonomiska läget.

Washington Monthly har nu en lång artikel om Tufte. Läsvärt.

And so, that April, in an office building blocks from the White House, Tufte spent a few hours with Devaney looking at sketches of some of the displays the board was preparing. Devaney showed Tufte a prototype of Recovery.gov, the site that catalogs all the projects funded with federal stimulus money around the country. Thinking about it now, Devaney remembers that the proposed pages were full of “classic Web site gobbledygook, with lots of simple pie charts and bar graphs.” Tufte took one look at the Web site mockups that the board’s designer had prepared and pronounced them “intellectually impoverished.”

It was a classic Tufte moment: a spontaneous and undiplomatic assessment that immediately struck everyone in the room, even the designer himself, as undeniably true. The site would get a wholesale redesign. The model, as Tufte explained it, should be the Web site of a major newspaper, with Devaney and his staff as reporters and editors. “I told them that it isn’t an annual report,” Tufte told me later. “It shouldn’t look stylish or slick. It’s about facts.” As Tufte and Devaney talked, a number of staffers gathered in the hall, waiting for the meeting to finish. “The guys from the IT department had lined up outside my door to shake his hand and say they met the guy,” Devaney remembers.

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