Edward Tufte: administrative debris and tight words

July 20, 2010

In 1994-1995 I designed (while consulting for IBM) screen mock-ups for navigating through the National Gallery via information kiosks. (The National Gallery had the
good sense not to adopt the proposal.) For several years these screen designs were handouts in the one-day course in my discussion of interface design, and were then published in my book Visual Explanations (1997).

The design ideas here include high-resolution touch-screens; minimizing computer admin debris; spatial distribution of information rather than temporal stacking; complete integration of text, images, and live video; a flat non-hierarchical interface; and replacing spacious icons with tight words. The metaphor for the interface is the information. Thus the iPhone got it mostly right.

Edward Tufte: iPhone interface design

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