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Tufte Anecdote

December 20, 2013


From, an anecdote of when Edward Tufte was invited to cast a critical eye over their latest documentation engine:

we were very proud of our user interface and the fact that we had a way to browse 16,000(!!) pages of documentation on a CD-ROM.  But browsing the hierarchy felt a little complicated to us. So we asked [Edward] Tufte to come in and have a look, and were hoping perhaps for a pat on the head or some free advice. He played with our AnswerBook for about 90 seconds, turned around, and pronounced his review:

"Dr Spock’s Baby Care is a best-selling owner’s manual for the most complicated ‘product’ imaginable — and it only has two levels of headings.  You people have 8 levels of hierarchy and I haven’t even stopped counting yet.  No wonder you think it’s complicated."

Nelson Mandela R.I.P

December 6, 2013