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Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 31. März 1997

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With Visual Explanations, Edward R. Tufte adds a third volume to his indispensable series on information display. The first, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, which focuses on charts and graphs that display numerical information, virtually defined the field. The second, Envisioning Information, explores similar territory but with an emphasis on maps and cartography. Visual Explanations centers on dynamic data--information that changes over time. (Tufte has described the three books as being about, respectively, "pictures of numbers, pictures of nouns, and pictures of verbs.")

Like its predecessors, Visual Explanations is both intellectually stimulating and beautiful to behold. Tufte, a self-publisher, takes extraordinary pains with design and production. The book ranges through a variety of topics, including the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger (which could have been prevented, Tufte argues, by better information display on the part of the rocket's engineers), magic tricks, a cholera epidemic in 19th-century London, and the principle of using "the smallest effective difference" to display distinctions in data. Throughout, Tufte presents ideas with crystalline clarity and illustrates them in exquisitely rendered samples.

Synopsis

Tufte's (statistical evidence and information design, Yale U.) third book on displaying information that began with the now classic The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (1983). Whereas the first considered the display of numbers and the second of nouns, this explores the representation of


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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Edward Tufte set high standards for himself with his previous books. Consequently the weaknesses of his newest stand out more than they would have otherwise. As usual, his bad examples have more impact than any amount of instruction or philosophizing, especially the "hyped Venus" animation from the Magellan probe. Other topics get a bit confusing.
Tufte's criticism of Richard Feynman's O-ring "experiment" makes sense only because both Tufte and Feynman imprecisely called it that and not what it really was: a demonstration. Was Feynman supposed to do in two minutes what all prior researchers had not?
Tufte goes from critiquing illustrations of magic tricks to equating a lecture with a magic show. His advice to keep things short and sweet, leave the audience wanting more, and the like are off-topic.
The author may be reaching for a grand theory of visual communication, and more power to him. However, the word "confection" is an unfortunate choice. It stinks too much of the disparaging phrase "eye candy" to be taken seriously. I would have preferred a term that might imply a connection with an electronic communications buzzword like "worldbuilding." Calvino's literary archeology, even live theater or filmmaking might have yielded preferable analogies.
Quibbles aside, this is a bargain at any price. It offers much better advice to interface designers than any overlarded, pseudo-psychedelic coffee table book I've seen so far on Website building
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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Oh my - Mr. Tufte just carries on producing one fine piece of work after another.
This third book in the triology on "information presentation" is as splendid as the previous two books. In this volume the emphasis is, as the title suggests, on methods for creating powerful illustrations and graphics that could help you present your knowledge in a non-disputable way.
The most intriguing section in this book without doubt the chapter on the Challenger disaster in 1986. The rocket engineers back then had worries about the launch on Jan 28. However they were not at all able to communicate their worries to NASA and so it ended... In a worrying few number of pages, Mr. Tufte, dissects the data presented to NASA by the engineers and creates a information redesign which makes it clear to anyone that the launch should have been postponed.
I still belive that book 2, "Envisioning Information" is the most required. Buy that book and if you love is (as I do), then buy the other two books as well.
The layout of this book is fully in thread with the others in the series. Beautiful, engaging, ingenious, etc. The print quality is second to none - you really have a feeling that the crew behind these books have been nursing their babies.
So Mr. Tufte - where is number four in the series?
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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
As an extension of his observations described in his earlier book, "Envisioning Information", Tufte's third installment of the trilogy turns the discussion to the display of dynamic information. Again, Tufte draws from numerous examples throughout history to illustrate his points. The chapter on 'Visual and Statistical Thinking' contains some of the most poignant arguments in the book, including an engaging visual narrative of the 1854 Cholera Epidemic and a study on the Challenger space-shuttle tragedy.
This book may not for everyone, however. It does not contain ready-to-use concepts nor does it present a comprehensive solution for displaying dynamic information. What it does contain, are keen observations and commentary on past attempts at dynamic information display. The relation of each chapter to the next is not readily apparent and is quite precarious in fact. What results, is a book that reads better if each chapter is taken independently. In short, this book will be more rewarding to those willing to spend time to ponder over Tufte's observations. Conversely, the book will appear to have a lack of focus to those in a rush to find solutions.
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This masterpiece contains explanations of "magic" and illusions, displays of scientific charts, graphs, and maps as well as analysis of photographs and historical drawings. Tuft illustrates the need to present information in alternate formats taking in to account a variety of contexts and perspectives in which it will be consumed. Numerous examples, illustrations and descriptions are included which detail the importance and methods used to encode information in a pictorial medium, enabling an audience to identify critical relevant details of that which is depicted, including relative size, amount, scale, and time, whichever may be appropriate for a given subject. An interesting and well documented commentary is presented about the Space Shuttle tragedy, which illustrates just how important information design can be, and the dramatic effects, which may result down the line if not proper consideration is not given to such a basic issue.
The methods and subjects covered are applicable to a variety of media, and subject matter including, marketing and promotional materials, web design and information presentation, the presentation of scientific data, and general photography. No matter what your occupation or ambition, if it involves conveying information in a graphical format, this book will provide insight and examples that will help you get your point across more effectively, and enhance the end user experience.
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