Tools for Thought

🚧 This page is a #stub

Interface design:... developing the fundamental primitives human beings think and create with.

  • Michael Nielsen, by way of Shan Carter at OpenVis 2018 video.

(Paraphrasing) Bret Victor (Private) observed that there are sounds humans cannot hear (but dogs can), so we build machines to pick up ultrasonic frequencies. What tools/media would enable us to think currently unattainable thoughts?

Backlinks to this page: on notation, visual encodings, media, and tools

Overlapping ideas

  • Simulations
  • Explorable Explanations
  • Authoring environments for interactive documents
  • Visual programming / visual information retrieval




  • Marshall McLuhan: The Medium is the Massage (h/t Anh-thu)
  • Tufte's collection


  • Manuel Lima's Visualizing complexity
  • Lewis Leahy's Traffic Explorable Explanations
  • Nicky Case's
    • "Advancements in technology are made by getting the right expert's attention at the right time... likelihood of this happening is enhanced by being in a dense network"
      • Connect to Niall Ferguson's "Square and the Tower": virality of an idea depends less on the inherent nature of the idea, and more on the shape of the network that the idea hits