As we start doing more exploration into what makes a good web based applications, I’ve starting doing more reading on how to visualize data graphically and create a clean interface. The guys at 37signals.com have grown quite a reputation for their applications. They have a book called Getting Real that is available in several forms (free online, or PDF).
There are a number of sections that are worth reading, but this one struck me as pretty good:
There are two extremes that companies can find themselves having to balance between. The first is designing without forethought and creating something that barely works when it’s first conceived and then requires lots of hacking in the future. The second is to solve “imaginary” problems. Problems that may genuinely come up, but don’t need to be solved right now.
Anyway, I recommend taking a look at this (especially since the content is free). I have found it pretty insightful.