No, Tufte’s Charts Are not Plain and Simple

A new data visualization research paper finds that chart junk does not harm accuracy and actually improves recall. The paper is an interesting read but, unfortunately, not for the right reasons. I’ll discuss the paper in an upcoming post. Today I just want to comment a sentence from the introduction: “This minimalist

God and Moses? The Differences Between Edward Tufte and Stephen Few

I have a confession to make: my past is paved with chart-making sins, including some capital ones (yes, 3D pie charts, too). But years ago I saw the light in Edward Tufte’s The Visual Display of Quantitative Information and since then I’ve been avoiding eye-candy temptations. Now I do my best to pursuit the path … Read more

Can Edward Tufte Do Business Charts?

1. Tufte, the Father of Eye-Candy Charts Tufte’s The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, published in 1983, is probably the most influential book in the history of data visualization, and it is likely to remain so for some more time. In his book, Tufte outlines for the first time a consistent theory of how a … Read more

Minard, Tufte, Kosslyn and Godin (and Napoleon)

Do you prefer the full report:   Or the executive summary? For Tufte’s fans, Minard’s map plays a central role in Tufte’s iconography, and the way he praises it (“best statistical graphic ever”) is quoted endlessly (974 results in Google as of today, to be precise). Tufte discussed The Map in his first book (The … Read more

The "what-would-Tufte-say" syndrome

An alarming level of the “what-would-Tufte-say” syndrome can be found in this post and some of its comments discussing a New York Times’s infographic. This syndrome has some recognizable features like the extensive use of “chart junk”, “lie factor” or other terms and expressions coined by Tufte that reveal a somewhat misunderstanding or abusive usage … Read more