A1-StephenJayanathan

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I tried to find what I thought were examples of both a good visualization and a bad visualization from the same source, the New York Times.


A good visualization. NY Times 01/24/2010

A Good Visualization

Here we have a visual trying to explain the cause of the radiation treatment received by Scott Jerome-Parks. It presents a complex machine and clearly illustrates how it works, and what went wrong in Scott's treatment. The overall picture of the machine uses both transparency and color to reveal the internal workings of the machine, detailing how radiation is produced and used to be an effective treatment.

Up close on one of the details of the good visualization. NY Times 01/24/2010

In particular, I like the detail in the bottom left corner detail that shows exactly what a normal treatment as well as a dangerous treatment would look like. I can clearly understand how the machine failed and what happened to Scott Jerome-Parks.


A Bad Vizualization

A bad visualization, comparing the four quarterbacks to play in the NFL Conference Championship games, 2010. NY Times 01/24/2010

The sports section of the paper had an article comparing Mark Sanchez, Brett Favre, Drew Brees, and Peyton Manning and their different career paths up until the playoffs this year. It attempts to bring together time, milestones, and major achievements (NFL Records) in the careers of these four quarterbacks. I feel it doesn't do a good job and actually takes a lot of effort to understand. It uses the faces of the quarterbacks repeatedly, which doesn't help if you're unfamiliar with the players. It also uses both faded images and boxes that take a while to both recognize and figure out what they mean. The legend in the top right only has one item, "N.F.L. Record", and it is boxed, which I now understand means that all of the smaller icons below are boxed to indicate it was an N.F.L. record. However, this boxing is inconsistent, because Mark Sanchez has a box around his record of being the "second rookie qb..." while Brees and Manning do not when they accomplished something for a record second time.

My biggest fault though is that although the visualization has a timeline across the top of it, the events portrayed don't clearly indicate who was playing in the NFL when, and how much Sanchez, Favre, and Brees/Manning are from three different generations of players. The rows do not have any order to them--they aren't oldest to youngest, alphabetical, or anything else as far as I can tell.

This visual hasn't quickly simplified all the facts they they want to compare--the simple title "From a Graybeard (Favre) to a New Beard (Sanchez)" doesn't match the complicated pictorials.



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