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Week 10: At the National Conventions, the Words They Used
10-30-2014, 01:25 AM
Post: #1
Week 10: At the National Conventions, the Words They Used
Link to the article: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/...ounts.html

This visualization mainly shows the number of mentions of a word per 25,000 words spoken by democrats and republicans at presidential nominating conventions. This study is based on an analysis of transcripts from the Federal News Service.

It shows the words and the usage of word per 25,000 words inside circles(Bubble Chart). This circle is divided into sections proportional to the word usage by each party. Each section is color coder where red/pink represents republicans and blue represents democrats.

Few of the things that I liked about the visualization are as follows:

- The usage of different hues to represent categorical data as it makes the visualization clean.
- The size of the bubble based on the frequency of word used to highlight the important words used(apart from the name of the candidates the parties mainly stressed on Jobs, Business etc which were the key points in the poll).
- The positioning of the bubble based on words favored by each party which shows the stress given by each party on those aspects(Democrats gave more importance to Business and unemployment aspect where are Republicans focused more on women's health, middle class etc).
- The 4 key aspects of the poll have been explained in written which relates to auto, women, business and unemployment which could be helpful to the reader.
- On click of any of these bubbles, it gets highlighted and a detailed explanation of the word by different speakers and the phrase in which that word is used is displayed at the bottom which a reader can refer to get the views of different speakers on that topic or even just the context.
- The text box where the reader can type his word/phrase of interest and see the frequency of usage and the context of use for different speaker. After adding this word a new bubble is created and positioned in the screen accordingly.

Few of the things that I dint like about the visualization are as follows:
- When a new word is added say "Visualization" which has not been used in the speeches, but still it is added to the bubble chart. If many such words are searched for then it forms a clutter which is unnecessary. Not including such words to the chart would had been a better decision.
- There is a little bit of animation used when a reader moves a bubble, which in this case I dint find that useful. Apart from the fact that it can be used for grouping, is visually appealing and fun to play with.

Overall i liked the visualization and had a good time by searching random words and reading the related phrases Smile
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10-30-2014, 09:42 AM
Post: #2
RE: Week 10: At the National Conventions, the Words They Used
I tried several times adding a word but nothing happened. Anyway, I agree with Shishir that the usage of size of bubbles representing the frequency of the words in the speech. And also, the color can represent the two parties straightforwardly. We can find these words in the following convention speeches with the corresponding color words.

But I am not really clear what this vis want to tell us mainly. It seems the author want to extra some key words from the speeches and compare them with frequency to get what Democrats and Republicans are focusing on. But the words which have been explained like Auto and Unemployment are small portion in each speech. So if the author want to focus on these topic, he/she should use another way to pop these out.
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11-01-2014, 11:59 AM
Post: #3
RE: Week 10: At the National Conventions, the Words They Used
First let me say as cool as being able to move the bubbles around, I do not see the point. All that it did for me was distract me from the information they are trying to convey by giving me a fun little widget to play with.

Over all it's an interesting concept to explore but I would have rather seen proper small multiples of comparisons instead of this silly bubble format. If I want to compare two terms together I find it very hard to get them to line up just so. Another problem I see with it is that it tries to keep the blue heavy terms on the left and the red heavy terms on the right. It's very easy to drag a blue heavy term to the right and have it get stuck in the red section of the visualization which end up ruining its continuous nature.
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11-01-2014, 02:46 PM
Post: #4
RE: Week 10: At the National Conventions, the Words They Used
I agree with you that the color usage of this visualization was great. I'm so glad that they decided to use only two colors. More than that would have complicated the visualization. As you said, the animation might not seem to be useful, but I think it interests viewers. The slight movements give liveliness to the data, and it would be more boring to stare at a static circles. I loved the "Add word or phrase" functionality. It is so easy and fun to add a new word. And I agree with you that displaying unused words is unnecessary and clutters the visualization.
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11-01-2014, 05:03 PM
Post: #5
RE: Week 10: At the National Conventions, the Words They Used
I really like the ability to add a word to the visualization. This allows the user to determine words of interest. I agree with Shishir that words that are never used should not be added. An error message should simply let the user know the word was not found.

I'm confused by the meaning of the x-axis. At first I thought it represented percentage of usage (100% Democrat use of left, 100% Republican of right, 50/50 in the middle). But then I added the word "injury" while exploring the data. That term was used once by a Democrat and never by a Republican, but the bubble only drifts slightly to the left of middle. Even when I drag the bubble to the far left, it drifts back toward the middle. It would be nice to have at least a brief mathematical description of how positions along the x-axis are determined.
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11-01-2014, 11:21 PM
Post: #6
RE: Week 10: At the National Conventions, the Words They Used
I think this visualization suffers from one main drawback which is the loss of the word's context, as the same word might have a different meaning or effect in different contexts. The highlighting of the word occurrences when a circle is clicked is a solution to the context loss issue, but the purpose of the visualization is to summaries and reduce the time spent in reaching a conclusions, therefore I think there should be more filtering options that define the general context of when or where the word was used.
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11-01-2014, 11:31 PM
Post: #7
RE: Week 10: At the National Conventions, the Words They Used
Interesting visualization, however, it does not support Chrome! Yes, I tried it in Chrome first and: 1) Adding words gives me nothing; 2) Clicking one of the existing bubbles only adds that words to the end of the URL, but the sentences below this visualization do not change; 3) Moving bubbles doesn't work. Then I copied the address and tried in fireforx, and all the three features work well, and that's when I find it interesting. However, still, I have some concerns: 1) Adding ability to delete a bubble would be nicer; 2) Though I didn't find it useful to move bubbles either, it did tell me that positions of the bubbles do not matter that much, which should be a very effective encoding channel; 3) Why only explanations for the four words: auto, women, business and unemployment?
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11-01-2014, 11:46 PM
Post: #8
RE: Week 10: At the National Conventions, the Words They Used
This is fun and interactive visualization documenting the words in a visually appealing fashion as opposed to word clouds which are static plots.I added India into the add phrase feature and found that the Republicansmentioned India 1.1 times per 25,000 words.
Although the added words do clutter the visualization I still like the fact that it engages the readers to add in words and play with it.Like my friends above have mentioned, the functionality to delete the words would be great.
It is interesting to note that equal pay does not feature in the Republicans transcript.
Overall a cool way of visualizing the political speeches.
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11-02-2014, 11:24 AM
Post: #9
RE: Week 10: At the National Conventions, the Words They Used
The bubbles look pretty.
I tried to add words and it worked just fine. If you add a random (not so sensible word), you get a white bubble with 0-0 in it.
All the statements associated with particular word are listed down below which is a good thing.
Auto, women, business and unemployment those are words whose short description has been provided. I didn't really get that! Why not others?
Overall, it was fun to have an interaction with it.
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11-02-2014, 02:46 PM
Post: #10
RE: Week 10: At the National Conventions, the Words They Used
Overall the critique and comments have been great. This visualization is a lot more effective than a wordle. It is essentially encoding the same information that you could do with a wordle but in a way that minimizes some of the shortfalls. For example, the area of the circle shows the frequency of its usage versus using the size of the word itself to encode the frequency. It avoids the illusion where the length of the word affects the appearance of its size. I think the red and blue coloring split of the area adds a lot more meaning than if you just were to just color the words based off which group, republicans or democrats, said them more. The x-axis is not perfect, especially if you add your own word, but it is close and what it represents is meaningful. The animation isn't necessary but it does make the visualization more appealing. I really like how this visualization was implemented and would definately consider it for a design choice over using a wordle for text data.
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