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Information Design [Hardcover]

Robert Jacobson
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 18 1999
foreword by Richard Saul Wurman


Information design is the newest of the design disciplines. As a sign of our times, when the crafting of messages and meaning is so central to our lives, information design is not only important—it is essential. Contemporary information designers seek to edify more than to persuade, to exchange more than to foist upon. With ever more powerful technologies of communication, we have learned that the issuer of designed information is as likely as the intended recipient to be changed by it, for better or worse.

The contributors to this book are both cautionary and hopeful as they offer visions of how information design can be practiced diligently and ethically, for the benefit of information consumers as well as producers. They present various methods that seem to work, such as sense-making and way-finding. They make recommendations and serve as guides to a still young but extraordinarily pervasive—and persuasive—field.

Contributors: Elizabeth Andersen, Judy Anderson, Simon Birrell, Mike Cooley, Brenda Dervin, Jim Gasperini, Yvonne M. Hansen, Steve Holtzman, Robert E. Horn, Robert Jacobson, John Krygier, Sheryl Macy, Romedi Passini, Jef Raskin, Chandler Screven, Nathan Shedroff, Hal Thwaites, Roger Whitehouse.

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Review



"A wonderful resource compendium on the diverse landscape of information design. From theory to practice, the book is truly an effort in the 'design of understanding'"
Clement Mok, Chief Creative Officer, Sapient

About the Author

Robert Jacobson is Senior Consultant at SRI International, in California. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Hardcover
I am a professional Information Architect; However, I picked up the book without any preconcieved notions or superficial expectations. I found especially illuminating (and actually empathisized with) the comparisons between IAs conceptualizing Information Design and Traditional Architects conceptualizing "wayfinding" through building structures. For those of you who are looking for a Home Deopt style "How-To" manual on creating intuitive interface design for software applications; you simply have to surf the web for 1001 lessons on HOW NOT TO do it. Seriously, the only effective Information Design training program is years of experience in software development. A "blueprint" or plan is key to useful execution, but there is a lot more to good Information Design than a pile of flowcharts. The best an author can do is to share some of his/her insight on ergonomic design with the rest of us. While many of the reviewers found this book's exposition of visionary and philosophical approaches to design impractical; I found it to be both informative and refreshing. Information design is not about how rigidly organized the branching structure is; instead, it's about how the user "moves through" an application (hopefully with pleasure and ease of use). This calls for a combination of clever engineering and artistic design, and cannot be accomplished simply by "keeping all your ducks in a row" The most significant aspect of good Info Design, in the end, is clear, intuitive, useable interface.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Heavy reading June 9 2001
Format:Hardcover
This book consists of a series of cross-disciplinary articles on information design. In the concluding chapter of the book, Jeff Raskin summarizes the volume by saying "I find that [the articles] accurately represent the diversity of the field - - from fuzzy New Age touchy-feely rantings to thoughtful studies." I'm inclined to agree, but fortunately, the thoughtful studies outnumber the rantings. I was fascinated most by Whitehouse's article on architectural signposting for the blind. However, many of the other articles were also exceptionally thought-provoking. Before I read this book, I thought "information design" had something to do with drawing effective graphs. But after reading these articles, I would say it is making meaning by revealing the relationships between data through planned presentation. Or something to that effect- -the field is much wider than I had ever thought before.
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By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Unlike the previous reviewer, I actually read the book and especially its introduction. INFORMATION DESIGN fulfills its promise: it reveals what it means to be an information designer at an ethical, even emotional level. I was especially impressed by the diversity of the contributors and their willingness to express doubts as well as hopes for this emerging profession. INFORMATION DESIGN isn't exclusively a how-to book. More importantly, it helped me to understand what information design is and why it's done in the first place. This is a must-read for those of you who aspire to become or already are information designers. You have your work cut out for you!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Now I know why I'm an information designer. Aug. 6 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Aside from a wonderful dustjacket, this book unfortunately lacks real design and visual style. But don't let that put you off. This book travels a lot of time and space, most of it well -- from the history of Egyptian scribes to the future of online virtual worlds!
I'd have preferred two or three volumes to one try-to-be-everything text. Also, I sense a need for a magazine or online journal, to bring things up to immediate date. But overall, I was plenty impressed and satisfied with this book.
Clement Mok, a personal fav rave, on the dustjacket calls ID the "design of understanding." This book does a good job of it.
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2.0 out of 5 stars mixed bag Jan. 20 2000
Format:Hardcover
This is a mixed-bag of articles on (of course) information design, in which every author defines the field differently. It would have been nice if the editor had set up a single definition and had authors work within that. But you'll end up skipping whole chapters which discuss left-field topics. I'm also amazed that a bunch of people writing about information design can't produce clearer illustrations.
The best of the bunch is by Nathan Shedrof, who comes up with a decent definition and gets into the details of it gracefully and eloquently. Ask a colleague who bought the book to copy chapter 11 for you.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Theories Not To Go By Aug. 7 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This book questions several so-called practicing experts on information design. Although some responses are sensible, most of the book's entries fail to stand by solid and structured ideas. Instead, most of the authors in this book ramble on about some rather horrible theories, while trying to prevent any criticism by including in their answers a lot of ifs and buts (Brenda Dervin: Chaos, Order, and Sense-Making.) While almost the entire book was a waste of time to read, the section by Romedi Passini (Sign-Posting Information Design) was enough to keep me from tossing the book. Read that section if any.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The nay-sayers below just don't get it. Oct. 24 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Don't read this book with the wrong expectations. This isn't a book about how to do information design. This is a book about being an information designer: theories, ethics, political and cultural issues, etc. I agree, the visual design is less than eloquent: standard MIT Press "academic." But the writing is exciting, so long as you're not looking for a how-to book. In fact, it's one of the lessons of this book that, so far as information design goes, our understanding of ID is still evolving and an how-to ID book would be premature.
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