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Week 3:Girls Lead in Science Exam, but Not in the United States
09-09-2014, 07:52 PM (This post was last modified: 09-13-2014 12:47 PM by raghvendra.)
Post: #1
Rainbow Week 3:Girls Lead in Science Exam, but Not in the United States
Raghvendra

Below is the link for visualization.
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/...tates.html

This visualization represents the average score of girls and boys in a science test given in 65 developed countries by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It finds that among a representative sample of 15-year-olds around the world, girls generally outperform boys in science — but not in the United States.

Overall I found this visualization very good because of the following reasons--

a)All the countries are grouped into three regions represented by yellow,blue and pink color dots.
b)The entire visualization is clearly divided into two parts,left where boys are scoring higher than girls and the right where girls are scoring higher than boys.
c)We can also hover the mouse over each dot to find the average score of boys and girls for that particular dot(representing a country).This represents information in hierarchical fashion which is a good visualization technique.
d)There are vertical grids representing the percentage difference in average score of boys and girls.This gives a rough idea of how much is the percentage difference in average score of two genders for different countries without any calculation.
e)There are horizontal grids representing the average score on the test.
f)The horizontal position of the dot(country) is determined by the percentage difference in average score of two genders whereas the vertical position is determined by the maximum of average score of two genders for that particular dot(country).
g)There is a facility of examining different statistics by clicking on numbers from 1 to 5 on the top right part of the visualization.

This visualization also shows which all countries have girls outperforming boys and vice [/quote][/php]versa. This helps in explaining the reasons as to why a certain gender outperforms the other and which according to researchers are the cultural forces.The cultural forces are strong in Western and Northern Europe and America(countries represented by blue dots) which is why boys outperformed girls in these countries.

This visualization also shows that in most of the countries one gender outperformed the other by not more than 2 percent.

So overall this visualization gives a lot of insight about the distribution of countries according to difference in average score of the two genders.

On the downside I think there are two things on which this visualization could have been improved---
a)The visualization is taking a lot of space.We can increase the data-ink ratio by reducing the scale of horizontal and vertical grids.
b)There is no provision of searching the details about a particular country.For example, if I want to find the average score of girls and boys for a country say x,then I need to hover the mouse over all the dots to search the country x.It would have been better if this visualization would have drop down menu to look for a particular country thus highlighting that particular dot.
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09-10-2014, 08:39 PM
Post: #2
RE: Girls Lead in Science Exam, but Not in the United States
I think the overall visualization conveys the message very well. The color variations and background color helps although I would like to argue that since an vertical axis (y-axis) is used to differentiate, background color can be removed. Looking at the distribution, it surely takes a lot of space. Considering various goals of the visualization a) if the goal was just giving a broader view, the axis could have been reduced (some points would have overlapped but naming them accordingly would have served the purpose) b) if the goal was to separate each country then the axis are fine. The problem with overlapping points would again lead to color-mix or a new color to represent those points which would increase the complexity of looking at the index several times. Since the article mainly tries to distinguish United States with other countries, showing the position of United States is a good approach. The tabs (1-5) is a good way to highlight various aspects. I couldn't figure out what the horizontal axis (x-axis) meant (just by looking at the visualization and also after reading the entire article) till the time I read it here. A better way to avoid excess space usage would have been representing it as a split bar graph. The idea of a drop down might be good if the particular looked up country and United States could be highlighted.
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09-12-2014, 12:12 AM
Post: #3
RE: Girls Lead in Science Exam, but Not in the United States
I agree the visualization is very good and insightful. As the focus is on differentiating United States from different countries, I like it they represent other countries in dots and not labeling them. This actually helps to focus more on the data of United States. Also, the link on the right is a good idea to explain more about the data. However, I also felt that I get to know more about the data from reading the links than from the visualization itself(Like how Asian and Northern Europe countries did better in exam compared to southern Europe and middle east). Overall, the visualization achieved its main purpose, but is little lagging in being self explanatory.
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09-12-2014, 11:07 AM
Post: #4
RE: Girls Lead in Science Exam, but Not in the United States
I think the visualization is very appealing to the eyes. The horizontal and vertical grid lines and the label for each data point make them very easy to understand. The color palette is very soothing to look at and the tabs at the top right corner gives more meaning to the data in one glance. The aspect I don't agree with the design of this visualization is amount of space it takes. I think the grid lines can be brought closer together while still maintaining its aesthetic appeal.
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09-12-2014, 12:56 PM
Post: #5
RE: Girls Lead in Science Exam, but Not in the United States
I strongly agree with the points given by Raghvendra. The visualization presented here is very informative and interactive.

By hovering we can get the detailed information of avg score of the students according to gender.
The colors used are also proper and distinguishable.

The problem I find in this visualization is background color. It was not really needed and it is quite distracting.
The data ink ratio should be considered. This visualization could have been looked better by reducing scale of the graph. As details are given while hovering, there will not have any problem even if the points are somewhat overlapped. So, I think scale can be reduced.

I also liked the facility provided for viewing different statistics on top right corner of the visualization.
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09-14-2014, 08:50 PM (This post was last modified: 09-14-2014 08:52 PM by Abhishek.)
Post: #6
RE: Week 3:Girls Lead in Science Exam, but Not in the United States
I find the visualization good and informative, but it is not self explanatory. We need to spend sometime to understand all the information it provides. Most of the things get clear once we discover the mouse hover property over each dot.

I think its okay to not have country label on each dot in the first graph as the visualization is about USA versus rest of the countries and not with any specific country. The other graphs have country label.

Also I feel that reducing the horizontal scale might defeat the purpose of the visualization. The boys/girls score ratio is spread only between -4% - 4%, while the average score of countries is spread between 320-575, which is like 80% difference. There will be hardly any visual separation in horizontal axis (with all dots very close to each other) and the visualization will get dominated by the difference in average score difference among the countries.

I agree that the background color is unnecessary.
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09-14-2014, 08:51 PM
Post: #7
RE: Week 3:Girls Lead in Science Exam, but Not in the United States
I totally agree to the fact that the above visualization is appealing and solves its purpose very well. Along with that it contains lot of information within it.
The problem with the visualization is:
1) The X axis is not marked properly until you read what it is for in the article.
2) The background color is not required.
3) No criteria to get the statistic related to any specific country.
One thing I like is about the graph is dividing the girls and boys via y axis. You can clearly figure out who among girls and boys is better in a region without reading much.
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09-14-2014, 09:27 PM
Post: #8
RE: Week 3:Girls Lead in Science Exam, but Not in the United States
First of all,an excellent critique by raghvendra.Some of the points I would like to highlight from the visualization are as follows:
1.The use of the buttons 1,2...5 to show various statistics about the visualization is good.
2.The use of the pop up to show extra information on hovering over a country is quite useful.
3.To give the users a better sense of place, it would have been good, if the whole visualization could have been made with the world map on the background.
4. The use of the grey color on the side of the visualization where "Girl scoring higher than boys" is an overkill as the demarcation line is more than enough.
5.A separate legend describing the horizontal and vertical axis would have been, rather than describing those within the visualization.
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