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Week 9 : 512 Paths to the White House
10-23-2014, 12:38 PM
Post: #1
Week 9 : 512 Paths to the White House
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Link of the article :
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/....html?_r=0

The visualization shows various ways to win White House presidential election. This is designed using bubble representing states and a hierarchical tree structure connecting each states. In addition to it contains tabs for each state at the top.

The things I like about this visualization are:
- I like the use of tree structure for representing the no of ways for two parties to emerge as winner.
- Dividing the graph into various states is a very interactive idea and helps the user to understand the visualization better.
- Having states in X-axis and Y-axis gave the user the flexibility to study and analyse the role of each state i.e contribution and weightage of each state in the path to White House.
- I also like the color combination in the visualization. Blue for Democrats and Red for Republican. Use of only two color make the visualization easy to understand
- Making the background as white in color helped the user to focus on the main idea.
- Facility of mouse hover makes the graph really interactive
i) User can get information about who is winning and what are the conditions for his win.
ii) Making the bubble to magnify on mouse over is a nice idea. It helps the user to read clearly.
iii) I like the way the color shifts on moving the mouse over the various places in the graph.
- According to me, this visualization followed Tufte's principles. The data ink ratio and data density is maximized to its best.

The things I did not like about the visualization:
- There is a lack of information why there is only 9 states
- Also the visualization missed in explaining the background statistical information like the "512 ways".

Overall I really like the visualization. People who are interested in politics will love it. But also for users who does not have interest in politics can easily understand the context.
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10-24-2014, 11:01 AM (This post was last modified: 10-24-2014 11:03 AM by Khalid.)
Post: #2
RE: Week 9 : 512 Paths to the White House
I like the interactivity in the tree and that the information appears when I hover over the tree branches and nodes with the mouse pointer, However as shobhit6188 said they fail to explain why there are only 9 states.

Also the size of the check mark enclosed in a circle is used to encode how fast a candidate can win, which might be visually appealing but can be easily discarded.
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10-24-2014, 04:44 PM
Post: #3
RE: Week 9 : 512 Paths to the White House
This piece of visualization has been well reviewed by Shobhith. I like the use of different hues to represent categorical data, use of plain background to highlight the important information, hierarchical tree structure to represent different states and the interactive element provided to this piece will the help of mouse hovering.

The horizontal grid representing states also provides a good idea as to who will win based on what the user selects(Rep or Dem) in each state. I think the hierarchy of the tree represents the most crucial states a candidate needs to win in order to win the election. Also they have used orange/yellow color to represent ties.

At the bottom they have provided highlight of the poll and by clicking on any of these the visualization changes accordingly. One thing I dislike about this is after clicking the uses needs to scroll up to see the new tree structure. They could have probably avoided this by scaling the tree accordingly.
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10-24-2014, 05:25 PM
Post: #4
RE: Week 9 : 512 Paths to the White House
I like the tree structure to this data. I also like the narrative text that appears when you hover over a result. I think the visualization did explain why the nine states were chosen (most contested). I really liked the extra information blocks at the bottom that help guide the user to points of interest in the visualization.
I think this was a good critique. It covered the use of color, layout, and interactivity very well.
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10-24-2014, 11:26 PM
Post: #5
RE: Week 9 : 512 Paths to the White House
I completely agree with Shobhit's critique. This visualization is really interesting and easy to understand. I liked the way comparison is shown in this visualization.
I also liked the interactivity in this graph. It also has the filtering functionality. By double clicking on any link, the states and ways to win can be changed.
The horizontal grid above the graph shows who has more chances of winning by selecting who won at a particular states. So, user can play around and know many different ways.
I agree that overall visualization is very nicely explained so that it could be understood by common people as well.
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10-25-2014, 10:18 AM
Post: #6
RE: Week 9 : 512 Paths to the White House
This visualization is very simple and the same time most informative. I liked the hierarchical tree structure and color encodings in the visualization and particularly the interactivity. Apart from showing the different ways to win, the links at the bottom provide information on what are the crucial states for Democrats and the Republics to maximize their chances for winning. I agree with Shobit that the visualization missed in explaining the '512 ways' and why only some major states are considered.

Overall, this visualization is well explained and very interactive.
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10-25-2014, 12:01 PM
Post: #7
RE: Week 9 : 512 Paths to the White House
While simple, the interactivity of this rectilinear vertical (spline?) node-link layout really caught my attention.

The combination of filtering, highlighting, and text overlays effectively describe and indicate the path to victory without being cumbersome. However, I consider it's largest downfall to be the horizontal spacing between nodes near the bottom, size of the nodes near the bottom, and text size for nodes near the bottom on the unfiltered view. Unfortunately, this forces heavy reliance on filtering to help understand the paths at the bottom of this layout. This makes it difficult to get an overview of paths when unfiltered.

In regards to filtering, the ability to filter with the top-most bar or by double clicking on either the state axis labels or nodes works well. While redundant, it increases the chances that a user will be able to filter by means of the method most intuitive to them.

As shobhit6188, I would have also preferred additional explanation on the selection of states and where the number of paths to win comes from.
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10-25-2014, 12:49 PM
Post: #8
RE: Week 9 : 512 Paths to the White House
I find this visualization very interactive and clean. So, it is quite easy to understand and get the information you want. The visual encoding and mouse rollovers used are effective. The hierarchical tree structure used seems like a logical approach for the type of information being presented.
The only problem I had is that the child nodes were so small that the yellow circles representing a tie were practically lost in the visualization. It would have been much better had these small percentages of ties been emphasized more.
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10-26-2014, 03:46 AM
Post: #9
RE: Week 9 : 512 Paths to the White House
I like the visualization and I completely agree with Shobhit on his critique.
The things that I liked are:
The tree structure used is very nice and interactivity is also nicely used.
It makes it clear to understand even for common people and people who doesn't have much interest in politics can also find it useful.
It clearly represents who has (Dem / Rep) more chances of winning in most of the major states.
Color coding is good. It shows difference clearly and improves understanding.
Some of the things that i didn't like, as expressed by most people are,
It doesn't provide complete information over all the states. Only 9 states are covered.
Also, the scaling of tree could have been proper. So that, the interactivity options provided at the end didn't need any scrolling
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10-26-2014, 10:00 AM
Post: #10
RE: Week 9 : 512 Paths to the White House
A very interesting tree vis.The designer use color to encode different person, and also making this vis more effective by introducing interactivities. However, the last level of the tree is not that visible. The buttons are becoming smaller and smaller, but the text size remains the same. To make the data more accessible, the designer also used filtering to filter the whole tree in order to give the user a more detailed look. Also, at the top line, the designer introduced a widget letting the user predict the result and get the "win or lose" conclusion.

Overall, it's a good visualization since it's really functional. All the features in this vis can secure the user would get a whole picture of the election status. However, if the designer can make the buttons of the last level of the tree bigger, this vis can become more effective.
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