More on Godin and Tufte

There’s another good article on Juice Analytics, “Godin, Tufte, and Types of Infographics:” (hey, guys, where are the author names? Author names only show in RSS, not the web page?)

Tufte frustrates on a number of levels. He is enormously influential in business. Businesses send people to his seminars and they come back energized with the essential truthfulness of his message. Yet weeks later those principles are abandoned by the lack of practicality of his message. No one in business is going to design a graph in Adobe Illustrator as he can. They use Excel. Seldom can we spend days or weeks refining and testing a graph. The work must be done and then we move on.

So I totally agree with this, and ask, why aren’t we asking more of Excel? Why can’t we get graphics that are of Tuftian quality from them? As I’ve said, I’m really fond of the ribbon design, and if enough customers were asking for great, and defined improvements in graphical excellence, I suspect Excel would ship it. (A personal example: I’d like to be able to lock a set of graphs to the same scales for the axes, so I can create small multiples more easily. I have some graphs today that slice one data set differently, and I have to work hard to make the scales the same.)

It would be really interesting to see if the community of excellence around Excel could come up with ideas.

(In another post, Zach points to Re-Visions of Minard.)

One thought on “More on Godin and Tufte

  1. You should check out Information Aesthetics, for a good review of visualization that’s being done.
    The big innovators around graphics in Excel are going in two directions. One is a full blown visual iterative navigation around OLAP principles – like Hyperion Visual Explorer which is an OEM of Christian Chabot’s Tableau.
    The other direction is .NET components to be embedded in application development environments like Tim Tow’s new Dodeca.

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