Introduction

Thank you for picking up this copy of The Practical Guide to Information Design. And congratulations on your interest in information design, because it's a field whose mission is helping people. Information design is the study and practice of bringing clarity and comprehensibility to visual materials that are meant to direct, teach, explain, or otherwise inform. It's both a discipline and a lifelong learning opportunity.

Effective information design accomplishes a lot:

  • It helps people navigate and understand the increasingly complex world of facts, figures, directions, and demands.
  • It helps people finish a task, solve a problem, or meet a need.
  • It minimizes or eliminates frustrations.
  • It begins and ends with understanding the people who will use the content and making sure that the content and its presentation and delivery serve them.

This book's goal is to help you design effectively for your audiences. It's to show you how to present content that's so clear and understandable, its viewers can perceive and comprehend it without having to think about navigational issues such as:

  • “Where should I look first? Where do I look next?”
  • “What kind of information is this?”
  • “Where am I in this content (beginning, middle, end)?”
  • “Why can't I understand this?”

or content issues such as:

  • “What's the point here?”
  • “Why I should care about it?”
  • “Why is it telling me everything except what I want to know?”

Some information designers would add “simplicity” to the definition ...

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