Monday, February 16, 2009

Edward Tufte on Presenting Data and Information

Edward Tufte, a leading authority on the design and use of data and information, will be offering his one-day workshop, Presenting Data and Information, on March 9th and 10th in Durham, NC. Courses fill quickly, so those interested in attending should register soon; further details can be found at his web site.

I attended one of Tufte's workshops a couple years ago in Phoenix, and would recommend it most favorably. His work is thoroughly grounded in the analysis of historical precedents, both good and bad, and he has also written on the presentation of information in medical contexts. His essay, The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within, is particularly incisive and should be required reading for all those who have come to rely on this software for conveying information. In short, Tufte is insightful and entertaining.

Participants receive copies of four of Tufte's books as part of the course fee: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (second edition, 2001); Envisioning Information (1990); Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative (1997); and Beautiful Evidence (2006). All are well worth reading.

Topics covered in the course include:

-- fundamental strategies of analytical design
-- evaluating evidence used in presentations
-- statistical data: tables, graphics, and semi-graphics
-- business, scientific, research, and financial presentations
-- complexity and clarity
-- effective presentations: on paper and in person
-- interface design
-- use of PowerPoint, video, overheads, and handouts
-- multi-media, internet, and websites
-- credibility of presentations
-- animation and scientific visualizations
-- many practical examples

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