- Hardcover: 260 pages
- Publisher: Analytics Press; 2 edition (August 15, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1938377001
- ISBN-13: 978-1938377006
- Product Dimensions: 1 x 9 x 11.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Information Dashboard Design: Displaying Data for At-a-Glance Monitoring 2nd Edition
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"Stephen Few is the master of creating simplicity and meaning through the clear visualization of data." —Garr Reynolds, author, The Naked Presenter and Presentation Zen
About the Author
Stephen Few is the founder of the consultancy Perceptual Edge. He speaks, teaches, and consults around the world and writes the quarterly Visual Business Intelligence Newsletter. In addition to this book, he is also the author of Show Me the Numbers: Designing Tables and Graphs to Enlighten, Now You See It: Simple Visualization Techniques for Quantitative Analysis, and Signal: Understanding What Matters in a World of Noise.
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Top Customer Reviews
Stephen guides us through the mechanics of how humans perceive visualizations, and then translates that into guidelines we can use to synthesize data into effective dashboards. Far from being a dry read, his style is so direct and hard-lined I have to smile reading his work. For example, he shows (IN FULL COLOR) real examples of dashboards he's found, publicly flogging them down, telling us what not to do (woe unto him who ends up in a Stephen Few book). He then walks us through some excellent examples of dashboards, giving us clear vision for our own data.
If you build dashboards of any kind, you should definitely consider getting acquainted with Stephen's work.
The first edition of Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data, published in 2006, completely changed my approach to building dashboards. The second edition of Information Dashboard Design is a significant revision and rewrite of its predecessor, with lots of new material. It is a reflection of how the world of data visualization has changed since 2006. None of the data visualization tools available at that time supported Edward Tufte's sparklines or the author's own bullet charts. Nor were there Apple iPhones (released in 2007) and iPads (released in 2010) to display analytics. The changes are also reflected in the subtitle, which is now "displaying data for at-a-glance monitoring" instead of "the effective visual communication of data."
What has not changed since 2006 is software vendors' pursuit of gaudy impractical visualizations like exploding pie charts. The acknowledgements are classic Stephen Few:
"Without a doubt I owe the greatest debt of gratitude to the many software vendors who have done so much to make this book necessary by failing to address or even contemplate the visual design requirements of dashboards. Their kind disregard for visual design has given me focus, ignited my passion, and guaranteed my livelihood for years to come."
Although Few is well-known for his disdain of pie charts, his advice is grounded in the science of visual perception. He devotes entire chapters to sparklines and bullet charts. And he provides new guidelines for visualizing data on smartphones and tablets. The chapter "Putting it All Together" provides in-depth analysis of real dashboards submitted for a dashboard design competition. It's very instructive to see multiple dashboards attempting to meet the same set of business requirements, with varying degrees of success. And the book concludes with "From Imaging to Unveiling," a short but meaningful chapter about how to design for success. Not only is the content valuable, but the hardcover edition is beautifully rendered in color with high-quality materials.
This is a book about dashboard design- not implementation. It's not written exclusively for dashboard developers, but anyone who has an interest in bringing useful data visualization to life in their organization. Few's goal is "eloquence through simplicity" and he achieves it with this new book.
I've read other books by Mr. Few, and his ideas are must-know ideas. You should buy this book NOW and read it cover-to-cover if you've not read his other similar works (or are not schooled in the similar ideas of Mr. Tufte). However, if you've read his prior work in this area, you probably have internalized the majority of this book as well and won't find significant new concepts in this edition.
One note: based on the cover (an iPhone with a dashboard) I was excited to order this book on pre-order. I assumed the implication was that a significant portion of the book might be covering new form factors. In reality most of the book covers traditional full-sized PC dashboard design principles as prior books do. There are a few pages that discuss mobile device design, but mostly covering Mr. Few's opinions on dark vs. light backgrounds, but not much consideration specifically about mobile form factor design as I was hoping.
Ovreall, great book, and if your work involves BI data visualization it's an important reference for your bookshelf. But if you already have several books by Few and/or Tufte you could skip this one.