on march 5th, president obama announced the appointment of information design expert edward tufte to the recovery independent advisory panel. tufte is a master at information design, bringing artistry and clarity to intricate graphs and charts so the many relationships displayed are better understood visually. the white house office of the press secretary announced that tufte’s appointment to the american recovery and reinvestment act’s advisory panel was “to provide transparency in the use of Recovery-related funds.” i say, if anyone can bring transparency in the form of information design, edward tufte is the man to do it.
for more on edward tufte, wikipedia has a good starter article. also, see the books and posters on his site for an idea of the level of information he is able to tackle in a single visual. he has also written an interesting & humorous essay on powerpoint and how its use in presentations often decreases effectiveness and analytical quality.
to me, the appointment of someone like tufte is a statement about the sad state of transparency and information corruption in our government. i wonder if we’ll ever get to see any of the informational graphics he creates to make sense of the recovery & reinvestment act [maybe in a history book someday in the future]?