Fourth presentation – progress update

Last class, we presented our current state of the project and the updates we made since the last presentation.

For us, the update is quite big: we changed our data set. As LastFM’s API was still broken after four weeks, we decided to search for a new dataset to save our project. We looked for a dataset that would enable us to keep most of the visualisation we developed already. That way, we did not have to throw all of our work out the window.

We decided upon the World Bank Databank, and more specifically the dataset on World Development Indicators. We picked out a few series that we thought would be interesting to show. The small multiples visualisation was elaborated enough to show the class what we did so far.

There were a lot of interesting and useful design critiques:

  • A few critiques were about sorting: it would be nice to sort graphs from lowest to highest population growth percentage, sorting according to continent, enable the user to select a few aspects himself to be able to compare. The joint underlying thought was that they felt there were too many small multiples and it was hard to compare different aspects that way. This is why we are currently looking into filtering options, so the user can indeed select what he wants to see.
  • Some other remarks had to do with the graphs themselves: we should add the begin and end date to the graphs, add axes and show a mean value in the graph (in a different colour). There was a suggestion to use the same scale for every graph, but this is something that needs some further investigation. With our previous dataset, we also tried to do this, but then for some countries there were no trends to be seen because the numbers were too small compared to the maximum used for the scaling. Hence we need to check what the result will be on our current dataset before we take a design decision. Another thing is that for the year 2015, there is not always data present yet in the set, and so the graph often goes to zero, which presents a wrong image. So we need to look into how we will solve this.
  • Two general design critiques: it would be convenient if the search box stays fixed at the top of the window while scrolling and a ‘back’ button would also be in the interest of the user, as it is apparently not intuitive that you can click on the graphs.

In the mean time, we already implemented the fixed position of the search box. We also gathered aggregate data for different regions. The set does not provide data for the exact continents, but proposes some regions that are economically and culturally similar. We will hence use these regions for the aggregates. The other remarks are still being considered at this point.

Due to time constraints, on Joris’ advice, and because nobody even asked where they went, we decided to leave out the map visualisations and focus on perfecting the small multiples.

We think the way the presentations were organised, was more efficient compared to how it usually goes, although it would have been nice to be able to respond to certain critiques sometimes – it was sometimes very hard not to do so, as observed.

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