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Edward Tufte

By  Nick Kasprak  on June 11, 2012 5:15 PM

I'm back from the Netroots Nation conference. Today I went to a day long course by Edward Tufte, the famous data visualization guru. He had a lot of cool things to say, particularly about not dumbing down your data and charts. In his view, the best way to give a presentation is to to a huge "data dump" at the very beginning, giving your audience time to look through it, then giving your own take and answering questions. He contrasted this with the typical Power Point approach, where information is organized sequentially and proceeds at the pace of your slowest audience members. He was also very critical of focus groups, and I was struck by a Steve Jobs quote he mentioned - "It's not the job of the consumer to know what they want." I couldn't agree more - if we designed everything by popular vote we'd have no need for designers.