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  Monday, August 30, 2004

I attended Edward Tufte's workshop in Palo Alto nearly 5 years ago, so it must be time to do it again. I agree with everything below; I, too, came away with a renewed commitment to content as king.

TufteSo, 37signals took a field trip to see Edward Tufte's Presenting Data and Information workshop. I think I speak for the other guys when I say we're really glad we attended. Here are someone else's detailed notes.

At his worst, Tufte is a passionate presenter with a clear cause (although slightly out of touch when it comes to talking web design). At his very best, Tufte has some real knowledge and insight to share about data density, the resolution of paper, clarity, simplicity, sparklines, and a near religious fanaticism targeted at the reduction of ornament in favor of making the content shine. He clearly believes that content is king. And, oh yeah, he likes to show off his original, first print/edition copies of Euclid's The Elements of Geometry and Galileo's The Starry Messenger.

He mentioned one thing that I never really thought about in this way before: When most of us think about bad design metaphors, we think of horrible screen interfaces that look like books, or look like desks, or look like television sets. But, the most common metaphor that leads to bad design is mimicking org charts or corporate structure. A design that follows corporate structure "just because" is just as bad as an interface that mimicks a book or a work desk or a television set. But, since the org chart or corporate structure is hidden in the design (unlike a book-like UI where you can see the physical representation of a book), we often don't think of this type of design as design based on a metaphor. . .[ SIGNAL VS. NOISE]

4:13:08 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

The best geek protest sign ever:

Phil Haack shows what happens when XML nerds protest. [Scripting News]

3:48:32 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

Yes, it's true, I was on vacation last week, hence no blogging. I'm back.

Tahoe was beautiful, although a bit on the cold side. I was fighting a cold all week, so spent much of the time inside reading, which is my tendency anyway. More on that later.

My one complaint from the week is the exhorbitant rate that the resort (The Ridge) tried to extract for WiFi access: $4.95/hour, or $9.95/day, with no weekly rate in site. With many hotels including free internet access, I'm not willing to pay those rates. Instead, I drove down to South Lake Tahoe twice to visit the Alpen Sierra Coffee House, where the WiFi is free (OK, they want you to buy something--a cup of coffee, for instance-- which is a much better deal than just paying for the connection). Good coffee, good sandwiches, nice people.

10:47:34 AM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

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