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Week 16: Pain at the Pump
12-11-2014, 11:51 PM (This post was last modified: 12-12-2014 05:11 PM by padmashree.)
Post: #1
Week 16: Pain at the Pump
Here is the link for the visualization.

http://www.bloomberg.com/visual-data/gas-prices/

This visualization is mainly about the fuel prices in different countries. The visualization makes use of Parallel Coordinates technique. It is ordered by three attributes -> Gas Price, Unaffordability and Income Spent. A quick definition for these terms is also available if we click on the question mark bubble next to them. Not only are these values mentioned, the viz also mentions the rank of a particular nation in that attribute. For example, US has a Gas Price of $2.93 and is ranked #53 most expensive among the 61 countries ranked in order of Gas Price and so on.
On the left portion we can see detailed explaination of the gas expenditure of the country selected. You can switch between countires either by clicking on the viz or by clicking the left/right arrows in the description section. We can also change from USD to other curriencies like YEN, INR, EUR, from gallon to liters and the viz is available for five different quarters starting from 2013.
On the description side by selecting the Country's Name, we get to see the list of all the countries separated by continents.
There is a Highlight Region option at the left bottom of the page which highlights rankings for only the countries in that continent.
Also at the bottom right is the link for slideshow of the viz which explains the rankings of all the 61 countries separately in form of a separate slideshow per each country.

The visual encoding used in this viz is color. All the countries in a particular region/continent are encoded the same color. This is apparent from the Highlight Region section. All the countries in South America are encoded green for example. This makes the comparision easier when you want to compare only within a particular region/continent.

Likes:
-> Very Informative.
-> Liked that you can switch between currencies.
-> Color switches to white on selection or mouse rollover.
-> Values and ranking show up on mouse rollover.
-> On highlighting a region, values for countries which are not in that region turn grey.

Dislikes:
-> Cannot compare between more than 2 countries at a time.
-> There's no interactivity apart from mouse rollover.

I think the visualization would be even better if more interactivity options were added like dragging the axes and filtering option would have also been handy.
Also option to select multiple countries would make comparision easier.

I would say this is an informative and clean visualization but there's certainly room for slight improvement which can help make the user-experience better.
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12-12-2014, 01:49 AM
Post: #2
RE: Week 16: Pain at the Pump
The visualization is doing a good job at providing information for one particular country and that is what they claim the visualization was made for. The correlation between gas prices, affordability and percentage of income spent on gas is clearly seen. I agree that searching for a country is very difficult in this visualization. Mouse hover shows the country name but it is easy to miss a country which is its major drawback. Allowing currency and volume metric to be changed is also another good feature provided.

I would have added a drop down or a list to select a country quickly to overcome the country selection drawback mentioned above.
Overall I think the visualization is doing a good job at providing information.
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12-12-2014, 03:50 AM
Post: #3
RE: Week 16: Pain at the Pump
I find this visualization very interesting and informative. It has quite a lot of data which is represented in a way that it doesn't seem overwhelming. I think the critique by Padmashree is pretty much spot on. I agree with her take on the visualization. I too found the lack of country selection a let-down. It would be a great place to start while looking to improve the visualization especially since the title states "Gasoline prices BY COUNTRY". Incorporating ways to compare the prices in different countries would also be great although that is not the intention of this visualization.
Other than these minor changes, this visualization seems to achieve its purpose.
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12-12-2014, 11:13 AM (This post was last modified: 12-12-2014 11:14 AM by aedunn.)
Post: #4
RE: Week 16: Pain at the Pump
I really like the visual appeal of this visualization -- I like the color scheme, especially with just one continent highlighted, I like how a country's connections are shown when you click on one, and I like the pop-ups of information when you highlight a country.

However, I agree with padmashree that it is difficult to highlight/click just one country. And it's annoying that you can't compare more than two countries, even with a continent highlighted (since you don't know which lines correspond to which country).
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12-12-2014, 11:51 AM
Post: #5
RE: Week 16: Pain at the Pump
I think the visualization serves its purpose well. The mouse hover feature provides extra flexibility with the help of dotted-lines to separate out the data of that particular country. I think the moto behind not having drop-down for a country was to be able to compare the prices, unaffordibility and income spent among different countries. The idea of clustering the data based on the geographical location of the country is very interesting. The drop-down option for currency, volume is great feature adding more flexibility and understanding of the visualization. The details in the text format provides additional details about the unaffordibility of gas in countries like India and Pakistan. Instead of having a drop-down menu option for countries, the slide feature (< country name >) has been provided to select a specific country.
Overall I think this visualization is great and serves its purpose. The title suits the visualization aptly.
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12-12-2014, 02:24 PM
Post: #6
RE: Week 16: Pain at the Pump
Excellent critique by the author.Some of the points I would like to highlight are as follows:
1)The choice of parallel coordinates as a visualization medium is excellent as it allows to compare different attributes of the data set like Gas price, Unaffordability and Income spent.
2)The use of color as an encoding medium is also great as it allows to distinguish countries of one continent from others.
3)The interactive processes like mouse over and filtering by clicking on a particular region of the world map is cool.
4)More interactions like inversions of the axes and dragging of the axes would have let the users better understand correlation between the different attributes of the data set.
5)A better filtering mechanism to allow the users to select the countries directly would have been useful.
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12-12-2014, 05:08 PM (This post was last modified: 12-12-2014 05:09 PM by padmashree.)
Post: #7
RE: Week 16: Pain at the Pump
I intially thought there is no way to select a country we are interested in. But thanks to Ankit's critique I can see now that there is a way to do that. On the description side by selecting the country's name , we get to see the list of all the countries separated by continents.
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12-12-2014, 05:48 PM
Post: #8
RE: Week 16: Pain at the Pump
I really liked the interactivity of the visualization. The correlation between gas prices, affordability and percentage of income spent on gas is done well.The details in the text format that provides additional details is also very useful. I agree with sayan_dey that more interactions like inversions of the axes and dragging of the axes would have let the users better.
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12-12-2014, 10:10 PM
Post: #9
RE: Week 16: Pain at the Pump
This is really a very nice visualization which is very informative. And I also like the can switch between colors and currencies. The interaction part is very handy, which can show ranking and values when controlling mouse rollover.
I agree with most opinions of the critiquer, especially that adding interactivity options like dragging the axes and filtering option would improve the visualization.
Overall this is a very good visualization and the critique is very appropriate.
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12-13-2014, 09:20 AM
Post: #10
RE: Week 16: Pain at the Pump
I think the visualization is really good. It has a minimalist look without any axis or ticks to represent the data. Closure property is being used to see the tick in an axis together. I like the color scheme used as well. The use of bright colors over a black background is very appealing.
Though the parallel coordinate lacks the features of filtering, inversion and swapping of axis, the roll-over feature makes it very informative. Clicking on a continent to highlight the data about the countries in it is great.
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