Posted on 28 November 2007


from www.codinghorror.comfrom

Sparklines are beautiful. Impactful. Simple. Elegant.

I’m going to try to start using this concept as soon as possible. I’m taking a course in healthcare info systems this semester, and we hear constant talk about “dashboards.” Example dashboards are invariably hideous or so simple that too little information is conveyed.

I think this idea has promise for healthcare dashboards, given the drive toward development of high resolution displays for e-book readers. Consider the renown of the IBM T221 (thanks to its 200ppi resolution); still, given the cost and size of that technology, it is clear that we have some distance to travel before even the $50 epson inkjet is in danger of being outdone.

Perhaps when we can get handheld or laptop pixels small enough to fit 600 or so within an inch, dashboards will start to become really beautiful–and thus more approachable and more useful.

Now, back to the topic at hand: Edward Tufte. Apparently, this author charges quite a lot for his seminars. While I’d like to attend one, there’s so much writing online about sparklines that I don’t know if it would be worth it. Someone who is more familiar is invited to enlighten me….and everyone is always invited to enlighten me.


See his Q&A board, which seems to feature just under 3.5 million articles on visual design and other related (and some deliciously unrelated) topics.

For more on visual design, see

Posted in: Art, Design, Health Care