To clarify add detail.
Clutter and overload are not an attribute of information. They are failures of design.
If the information is in chaos don’t start throwing out information, instead fix the design.
This doesn’t just apply to software or visuals. I know I’ve tried to explain things to people and when I see I’m failing have over simplified. I think that’s a mistake. It wasn’t because I was giving them too much that they weren’t understanding, it was because I was giving them information in the wrong way. Communication can be designed just like a visual.
I think our education system is a system that is/was in chaos. Our response has been to throw out information, to standardize everything, to make testing so ABCD simplified that we don’t really have to think about the design.
The perfect example is the “sandwich” writing style that students are coming into college with. I can see it as a way to teach introductory writing but because of the way standardized writing samples are graded the style carries right over into high school. Students then end up in college writing standardized dreck with the belief that it’s awesome. It’s not.
I’ve been tutoring college writers for about 7 years and I’ve seen the decay, the loss of voice, the adoption of really artificial and forced “introductory sentences.” It’s ugly. I can’t imagine what long time professors must feel.
Now schools are starting to fail according to NCLB (I’m sure we’ll all be at 100% passing by 2013). What’s going to happen? My bet is we’ll continue to simplify the information while ignoring the design. Expect more rote memorization and more robotic writing.
Damn that’s depressing. Someone cheer me up.