A good reminder from Edward Tufte:
“There is no such thing as information overload, just bad design. If something is cluttered and/or confusing, fix your design.”
This is a deceptively strong statement. It seems to merely be suggesting we don’t blame information overload for the pain it causes, and instead blame design.
On a more subtle level, however, Tufte is asking designers to take more responsibility for their (our) work. Information overload, a page that’s “too busy”, a graphic that “isn’t clear”, are merely symptoms of a larger problem that the designer failed to solve. In this way Tufte is striking right at the heart of what a designer is supposed to do: solve a particular problem.
If, instead of ignoring the issue and hoping it goes away, we UX designers admit “Yes, that’s a design problem” then we’ve already won half the battle. So take a tip from Tufte and forget information overload…try acknowledging and fixing a design first.