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Week 2: Nations' Ranks from 1960 to 2004 in Infant Mortality Rates
09-07-2014, 09:02 PM
Post: #11
RE: Week 2: Nations' Ranks from 1960 to 2004 in Infant Mortality Rates
What seems right: Countries are ranked from lowest infant mortality rate at the top, and highest at the bottom. It is easy to see the relative rankings of the countries listed, and whether their relative ranking went up or down between the two time periods. I personally like the lines so it is easy to locate the ranking pair for a single country between the years. The United States is easy to locate with the bold font and red line. I like how the line color is different depending on whether the relative ranking increased or decreased.

What seems wrong: The line crossings are dense. More color should be used to make it easier to distinguish the lines. Perhaps solid color could be used for increasing and dashed lines for decreasing. The rankings are only relative. We don't know if the real death rates increased or decreased. It could be that all the rates increased dramatically for all countries. It is also possible that for a particular country the rate stayed constant, but its ranking position changed because of the change of rate in other countries. We don't know because we are not given actual numbers. There are many countries missing, but there is no explanation of why these particular countries were chosen while excluding many more countries. We are not given the criteria for which countries are represented. And on that note, we are not told what the definition for infant mortality rate is. Does the rate include deaths starting at conception, or does the infant need to survive to a particular age first (such as 1 month of age), and what is the cutoff age? Did this criteria stay the same between the two time periods? Issues such as these have arisen in other medically related comparisons. It is important to be precise.

I agree that interactivity would improve this visualization. Highlighting a country when moving a mouse over it would be good, and then extra information could be displayed. I agree that the lower/higher labels are distracting. When I first read the "Lower" label I was confused since I thought it meant the line with the negative slope meant the rate had decreased from 1960 to 2004, but in fact the relative ranking had increased.
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RE: Week 2: Nations' Ranks from 1960 to 2004 in Infant Mortality Rates - lediaev - 09-07-2014 09:02 PM

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