Edward Tufte

Edward Tufte’s video and essay were pretty eye opening.  His discussion about information design for enhancing user experience had me stop and think about the ways I design and how I decide what information goes where (and what information is essential to the end user).  I really like the fact that his designs (especially his design for the museum map touch screen) are simple and uncluttered and most importantly “make sense”.  Having all the information visible to the user in a organized manner that is easy to understand better allows the user to navigate through the information and find what he/she is looking for.  I really dislike interfaces that make the user answer multiple questions in order to point him/her in a certain direction, because the machine is guiding the user in this case, not simply aiding the user in accomplishing a task.  His design for the museum (although no implemented) made so much sense to me, and I am really interested in other designs that he has created.

I ended up watching Tufte’s iPhone video twice…the first time through I didn’t know what to make of it.  His monotone narration and subtle jokes needed a re-visit.  After watching the video I looked at my iphone, specifically my weather app.  A few weeks ago I downloaded the new iOS 7 software which came with a complete re-design of the weather application.  There is now hour by hour information, but I think it is still lacking essential information that Tufte mentioned.  Opening the weather app on my phone made me realize that this was the first time I have done so since my phone update (I typically view the weather from a desktop screen because it provides so much more essential information than what I find on my mobile device).  The application now includes change of precipitation, “feels like” temperature, wind, humidity, etc. after the user touches the temperature currently being displayed (but this was not immediately evident to me, and probably benefit from a few design changes).  With that said, there are also many aspects of the iPhone that I truly enjoy.  Having information (applications) displayed in square blocks, and the ability to view more information by “swiping” to the side is simple, easy to understand, and allows the user to find essential information quickly without certain design elements getting in the way.

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