Information Pollution on the Underground Map

The London underground map has long been held as a classic of information design, eschewing unnecessary details of distance and geography in favour of a symbolic connection between stations.

Max Roberts delves in to the way that the modern incarnation of this classic is becoming progressively overwhelmed by “information pollution”, arguably reducing its effectiveness.

Information Pollution on the Underground Map

I have seen many software products fall into the same trap. With each new version or upgrade a few (individually small and potentially valuable) new features are added, and the original clear, expressive and usable design is compromised. After relatively few such iterations the software has the appearance of being complex and bloated, with no clear indication why.

An object lesson for all HCI and usability designers in evolving systems.