Tufte Discusses iPhone

24 Jan 2008 - 5:24pm
8 years ago
2 replies
1176 reads

Has anyone else seen, watched this presentation - Tufte on the iPhone?
Interface design and the iPhone

The iPhone platform elegantly solves the design problem of small screens by
intensifying the information resolution of each displayed page. Small
screens, as on
traditional cell phones, show very little information per screen, which in
turn leads
to deep hierarchies of stacked-up thin information--too often leaving users
"Where am I?" puzzles. Better to have users looking over material adjacent
in space
rather than stacked in time.

To do so requires increasing the information resolution of the screen by the
(higher resolution screens) and by screen design (eliminating screen-hogging

computer administrative debris, and distributing information adjacent in

This video shows some of the resolution-enhancing methods of the iPhone,
with a few places for improvements in resolution......

~ will

"Where you innovate, how you innovate,
and what you innovate are design problems"
will evans
user experience architect
wkevans4 at gmail.com


24 Jan 2008 - 7:26pm
Bill Tyler

Yes, it was great and classic Tufte... complete with sparklines.

24 Jan 2008 - 7:31pm
Austin Mansu

No doubt there are significant improvements to be made on the iPhone,
but I'm not sure I agree with all Tufte's criticisms.

"The weather pages are a bit thin. Why not show a dynamic weather map,
more detailed forecasts..."
"To clarify, add detail; and clutter and overload are not an attribute
of information, they are failures in design. If the information is in
chaos, don't start throwing out information, instead fix the design."

For sure this statement holds some truth, but I'm not sure I agree with
his argument on the weather maps. I don't want to start a PC-Mac debate,
but Tufte's weather map suggestion looked like a design straight from
the pages of Microsoft's Best Practice manual.

The iPhone design boils down to the "Zen aesthetic".

Check out this Presentation Zen article that compares Gates and Jobs on


Sums a lot of it up I think...

Austin Mansu
Information Architect Executive | OneDigital Pty Limited


m. + 61 (0)411 015 232
e. austin.mansu at onedigital.com.au
w. www.onedigital.com.au

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