Here’s a story about two Sun engineers showing a new UI to Tufte.
We were very proud of our user interface and the fact that we had a way to browse 16,000(!!) pages of documentation on a CD-ROM. But browsing the hierarchy felt a little complicated to us. So we asked Tufte to come in and have a look, and were hoping perhaps for a pat on the head or some free advice.
He played with our AnswerBook for about 90 seconds, turned around, and pronounced his review:
“Dr Spock’s Baby Care is a best-selling owner’s manual for the most complicated ‘product’ imaginable — and it only has two levels of headings. You people have 8 levels of hierarchy and I haven’t even stopped counting yet. No wonder you think it’s complicated.”