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42 The Information Design In My Life The Information Design In My Life 43

Information Sustrud et lum qui bla commy nullut exerosto Printer Maintenance Diagram

Design
I work for the Rutgers Department of Computer Science,
eugiam, vullam iure digna faci blandiamet where (among other duties) I help maintain the department printers.
This informational diagram consists of rows of drawings that instruct
ulla corer ilit eriureet, corperc iduisl ut vul- the reader on how to clear print jams. Each row corresponds to a dif-
ferent model of printer. For each model, the sequence of drawings
luptat. Ut loreet lan henibh eum inim zzrit ad informs the reader of the steps needed to clear the paper from the

Life
printer. The rows are separated by horizontal lines, and the images
dunt lutet, quat. Giametum zzril dolor inci ent

In
are each numbered sequentially across the page. These are examples
of access structure, a term Rob Waller uses to define page layout tech-
acing esecte dolenim volore tate tat. Ut luptat niques that “are there less to explain the topic than to help the reader
navigate within the [document]” (Waller 4). The lines separate each

My
nim am, si. Ectet, quam eugiam, quate euisc- type of printer, allowing the reader to vertically scan down the length
of document for his or her chosen model. Then, the numbers guide the
ing etue modit augait non vendrer augiamet reader across that particular row, enumerating the steps that he or
she should take to clear the paper jam.
By Christopher Eskow ad tie doloreet volore commod.

Rutgers Campus Bus Schedule Telescope Operator’s Manual


Hanging in Hill Center on Busch campus is a Rutgers bus For my astronomy class we were given an operator’s manual
schedule that graphically displays the operating times of each bus that instructs us how to use Rutgers’ 10-foot radio telescope. This
route for different days of the week. For each day, colored lines repre- document outlines the basic features of the telescope, and detailed
senting different routes span horizontally across the page. The posi- information about the software used to control it. The page depicted
tion and length of each line is determined by the route’s start and end to the left includes some interesting structure. First, the section iden-
times. In addition, the frequency of each bus is overlaid on top of each tifier and title (“1.3.3 Information Sidebar”) is an example of access
line. This schedule fits 5 variables (start time, end time, route name, structure. There is no topical meaning to “1.3.3” – it is used purely to
frequency of arrival, and total length of operation) in each one-dimen- guide the reader to the correct page when scanning the table of con-
sional line. The technique of compacting a multitude of information tents, and also to give the reader a sense of where he or she is in the
in a flat, two-dimensional document is recurring theme in Tufte’s En- document. The layout of the text following the section header and in-
visioning Information. Tufte argues, “in flatland, … every opportunity troductory paragraph is an example of topic structure. Line breaks, in-
to spread additional information over an already available dimension dentations, and boldface font convey the hierarchy of information that
must be cherished” (Tufte 24). The Rutgers bus schedule uses color the sidebar contains. To the right of this text is a figure of the sidebar
and overlaying text in this way to add extra information in an already- itself, which mirrors the layout of the descriptive text – access struc-
constrained space. ture which helps the reader compare side‐by‐side the actual sidebar
and descriptions of the data it contains.

Job Poster History of Programming Languages Poster


Recently at my job, I was asked to hang some fliers up around Hanging in a hallway at work is a poster that illustrates the
campus advertising a job opening. This is a Level 2 document, because history of popular computer programming languages. The informa-
it mimics the style of a product advertisement. While the design of the tion is portrayed in an interesting and unique way: a combination of
flier is not outstanding, I think it portrays all of the important pieces historical timeline and hierarchical family tree. Time increases hori-
of information rather well. The job title – “Student Computing Staff” – zontally across the x‐axis, and each language is represented by a line
is laid out in a large font, attracting the reader’s attention right away. starting at a particular point in time and moving through history to-
The pay rate is also rather large, mirroring the importance of that wards the right of the poster. Most programming languages were de-
particular piece of information to the potential applicant. A stylized, signed based on the ideas of previous languages. This is represented
three-dimensional dollar sign also invokes the feeling of earning mon- by diagonal lines that branch off of existing timelines and converge
ey. Three aspects of the job are arranged in a list underneath the rate to form new languages. Major versions of the language are marked
(an example of Waller’s topical structure, much like his to-do list). In along its line. The overall structure of this poster allows the reader to
a smaller font, tucked away in the corner of the page, is the date of the learn not only when a language was created, but also from which its
posting. This correctly minimizes the importance of the date, which is properties were derived. It also has the ability to portray the death
probably the least pressing (but still necessary) piece of data on the of certain languages: lines that do not reach the far right side repre-
flier. sent languages that have either evolved into other languages or were
dropped completely. This is another example of multiple dimensions
of information compressed into a two‐dimensional document.