Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative

This is the third volume in a series by Edward Tufte (the others are "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information", and "Envisioning Information"). All three are beautifully crafted books that are a delight to read and to handle. The most recent one brings the reader's attention to the use of graphics, narrative, and numbers to convey motion, process, mechanism, cause and effect. In order to exemplify his thinking, Tufte uses a very wide range of subjects, from the explanation of magic tricks to the coloring of bathymetric maps. One chapter is devoted almost entirely to an argument that the Shuttle Challenger disaster could have been avoided, had the appropriate statistical data about the relationship between o-ring failures and temperature at launch been presented in a clearer fashion. Tufte's design of a computer kiosk for an art museum contains wisdom that should be useful to anyone constructing Web interfaces.

Publication information
Pick Attribution: 

Edward R. Tufte

Publication Date: 
Wednesday, January 1, 1997