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Week 9 : 512 Paths to the White House
10-26-2014, 11:12 AM (This post was last modified: 10-26-2014 11:15 AM by mathewa.)
Post: #11
RE: Week 9 : 512 Paths to the White House
These type of visualizations appear more and more in websites that I frequent. Very appropriate topic, by the way, since we just went over trees in class. If any of you goto the fivethirtyeight.com website, they will have these branching trees for their statistics. They are often used in competitions where there are multiple entries and/or multiple conditions with the competition. Personally, I find these exceptionally good encoding for any type of conditional changes. When I went through probability classes, these types of visualizations work wonders on understanding the bigger picture.

The good. This viz allows the user to see the different paths. This gives a sense of the possibilities for each candidate. The colors encoding are appropriate for the semantics of the political parties and, for the contrast hue. The checkmark encoding works well for the end of the race and who wins ultimately on that path.

The bad. The text overlay is rather distracting and doesn't add that much information anyway. If I wanted to know which state, simply look the left hand side. If the state isn't that obvious, then maybe having an overlay of the state on the nodes. And it's not necessary to say "if" or "and" because thats what a dependency tree means by definition; it's conditional.

The beautiful. Overall it's an aesthetically pleasing viz. The choice of shape of lines and the spacing are really nice for such a deep tree. Being a probability junkie, I would've liked to see conditional probabilities along the edges or maybe an option for such a view. The examples at the bottom are a great idea because it show how one user has used the chart and some key examples. This brings home the point much more.

Side note. I'd like to make these type of viz myself. Probably not in processing but, rather, in Tableau. Is there way in Tableau?
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10-26-2014, 12:27 PM
Post: #12
RE: Week 9 : 512 Paths to the White House
The visualization talks about the probabilities that either candidates have in the presidential elections. The visualization is highly interactive with appropriate color coding and mouse rollovers telling us the possibilities and scenarios in which the candidates get to win.

The different tabs like 'view Obama wins Florida', 'battleground states' give a clear picture of what the data is trying to depict.
The widget to depict the winner is very neat.
However the buttons at the lowest level of the tree become smaller and difficult to notice.
Overall a very interesting piece of narration of the presidential election scenario.
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10-26-2014, 06:36 PM
Post: #13
RE: Week 9 : 512 Paths to the White House
Generally speaking, this vis is good. According to the previous classes, it could be said that this hasthe most information per ink. The tree structure style is pretty cool. The color usage is also very appropriate. Like previous postings, i like the easy but informative vis.
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10-26-2014, 07:50 PM
Post: #14
RE: Week 9 : 512 Paths to the White House
This is really an impressive piece of visualization. I like the way the tree structure is used to represent data. The mouse over effect is a feature i really admire in an visualization and it has been used well here to convey more info. The color used are also decent. However as others have mentioned before, it does not include all the states, which makes the data a little unreliable (based on only 9 states). Also the scaling of the nodes of the tree is a little odd, as we go down the size is so small that it is hard to get information.
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10-26-2014, 10:32 PM
Post: #15
RE: Week 9 : 512 Paths to the White House
This visualization is very interesting and engaging, even when I don't live in one of the listed states. Why is Utah not on here? Just kidding!

One of my first thoughts about this visualization was that I thought could be problematic was the use of blue and red colors. I thought this could be trouble for people with color blindness, especially as the lines become smaller which makes color differences more difficult to discern. But then I realized that Obama is always going to be on one side of the branch and Romney on the other. I suppose this fact makes the color thing a non-issue when it comes to the branches.

The red and blue circles jump out at me as I visually scan the tree. This might not be the case for colorblind people. Perhaps those circles should have elephants and donkeys in them instead of check marks.

I would like to see the option of having all the states listed on here for the purpose of exploring what-if scenarios. What if there was some major paradigm shift that resulted in Utah becoming a battleground state? How would this affect things?
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10-26-2014, 11:03 PM
Post: #16
RE: Week 9 : 512 Paths to the White House
I found the topic to be interesting and informative. I completely agree to the critique presented. I like the tree structure very much. I thought it was a very nice way of trying to present the data holistically on the topic. I like the way that it analyses all the different possibilities and presents it in a very pleasing manner.

I like the feature where we can move the mouse over the graph and the resultant highlighting. The ability to choose the states (on the top) based on which the visualization results gives the number of ways in which a candidate wins is really cool. I also like the colors used and the manner in which the states were divided.
One question that did also crop in my mind (as in the critique) is that why only a limited number of states where covered. This may be due to that fact that these are the key states or so. But was not clear to me.
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10-26-2014, 11:36 PM
Post: #17
RE: Week 9 : 512 Paths to the White House
The visualization is very informative and the tree structure portrays information in a efficient way. When we hover the mouse the bubble magnifies and the path is highlighted immediately with color change in the path and also in the states on y axis, this is very interactive. The authors made state selection easy with buttons on the top for each state. If Obama wins elections in any two states he wins in all scenarios and the way that was illustrated is visually appealing.
[/align]The blocks at the bottom of visualization are analyzing the win loss scenario and changing the visualization according to that which is good. As said by Shobit the visualization is showing scenarios for only 9 states, they should have mentioned why they had chosen only these 9 states.
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10-27-2014, 12:23 AM
Post: #18
RE: Week 9 : 512 Paths to the White House
the visualization is very nice. The tree structure, appropriate usage of colors, axis representation, tree structure contribute to interactivity, ease of understanding. The size of the circles and mouse hovering interactivity is very nicely done. Also, the interactivity of hovering over a path and the ways to reach that path helps understanding the flow in the tree structure really well.
cons in the visualization:
No idea why there were only 9 states selected and why only these particular states were chosen for the visualization
How are the number of paths to win exactly calculated
The states listed on the top are interactive but on the y-axis is not interactive
The nodes at the end of the tree are not clearly distinguishable
The size of the nodes can be understood to diminish but the height between each level should have been more constant to show the balance & unbalance in the tree
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10-27-2014, 11:50 AM
Post: #19
RE: Week 9 : 512 Paths to the White House
An interesting piece of visualization. I liked the tree structure. The blocks at the bottom explaining the various possibilities and outcomes makes it very interesting and exciting. Also the tabs at the top for the important states where we can predict whether the Republicans or the Democrats are going to win the election is very efficient. We can select various combinations of states to see how the parties might have to plan their strategy in the remaining states. I am sure the two political parties are going to find this visualization very handy in planning their propaganda if they run into it Smile.

Only complaint is that the size of the nodes get smaller as you get to the bottom and that makes it slightly hard to select the party you want quickly.

All in all a good visualization and good critique by the author.
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10-27-2014, 06:57 PM
Post: #20
RE: Week 9 : 512 Paths to the White House
I really like this visualization. I think that it's fun and interesting. I'm not a fan of politics and I found myself playing around with different scenarios. I like that it is in a tree to show which states are the most important for winning the presidential election, but I do think there should be a note clarifying why those were the only states selected. I also like that you can choose if certain states win. If you choose enough, you get a winner! I like the colors because people understand that red is republican and blue is democratic. I think is visualization is a lot of fun.
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