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Week 13 Reading

It’s really ironic how Shigeru Miyamoto helped build Nintendo, an indoor experience, since he had an interest in playing outdoors growing up. The creation of Nintendo has expanded because its dedication to catering to a user friendly experience. Creating something simple and easy has helped attract others to the console. The idea that Miyamoto created this simple, yet very interactive, gaming experience for others has been attractive for gamers. But with comparison to having a interactive experience, Miyamoto explored different types of games from narrative to letting the user venture in all directions. While giving the user the option to do both, it is later identified by Nintendo in the story that creating games with “personal fixation” has become popular in video games.

Now granted, I understand that gaming can be a bit different in comparison to data visualizations, but I really don’t see this mindset working well in creating well informed interactive. I don’t know if giving users options to do things is in the best interest as oppose to just giving the user no options. It seems to really depend on what the “experience” is going to be, whether it be informative or just a fun experience because when given too much leeway into how everything is played out there is a possibility to lose sight of the importance. But in the case of Miyamoto, he has explored the various options in gaming such as side-scrolling, free-roaming 3-D, all of which has made him and Nintendo successful, which stills leaves room for data visualizations to be effective like this.


This week’s visualization is about the U.S. economy and how it is expanding though consumer spending is a bit of a concern. While the visualization has comments from 12 states talking about how each state’s economy grew, it feels as though there is a lot missing in this visualization. While the visualization does have an article accompanying it, I still don’t understand the point of the visual. The article explains more than the visualization (naturally), but the interactive seems as though it does not need to exist because of its lack of information on the page. Since the U.S. economy is of importance in the minds of others, perhaps more info detailing what the article has explained could be more helpful.


Week 12

This week, I looked at the New York Times interactive featuring Republican Rick Santorum, who now, it seems, has dropped out of the race to be nominated to be considered for a nomination to run for president. There are some things I found with this interactive, while compelling, I have a hard time understanding. For one, while one can clearly see the various states where primaries have taken place at, what about with the rest of the page as far as interactivity? The bottom portion with the graphs and charts tell another part of a story. Though interesting, it has no interactivity, which I feel lacks consistency. I think that if you do something for one thing, you do it for everything else. Another part of the interactivity was that it is divided into three interactives, which is fine, but I don’t really see a purpose with the section “Size of County Lead.” I understand its point in it displaying the size of the county, but I wonder if there is something else that could replace that. Perhaps the stagnant graph, which details the years of withdraws from other Republicans in the past few years, and they can expand into why the candidates withdrew.

Week 10

This week’s critique, I looked at an interactive featuring from the Washington Post about entitled “Our Future Selves.” This visualization captures what “life” will be like in ten years, based in data obtained from the U.S. Census from everything such as the economy, and health. While it is interesting to look at how the U.S. population will increase over the course of a few years, this is a bit of a stretch. One reason is that though information is taken from the census, what about those that are undocumented. They are not taken into account in this visualization.

Week 11

This idea that links you share will last for a few hours is right to an extent. The attention span with links as the article explained the half life of a bitly link is about three hours. I would disagree because every link that contains something interesting is different. Something that goes viral, whether it be an article or a video, lasts longer through links that are shared.

With links that are directed toward YouTube, it is a little different. I think it is because of video, which YouTube does share, but at the same time, I feel that links with text will have just as many clicks as, say a YouTube video. One reason would be depending on traffic. Links with text can receive a lot of traffic depending on what it’s about. In example would be when a breaking news story is released, and people want to know what happened.


For this week’s critique, I decided to look at a bicycling visualization created by a student at the University of Oregon. I stumbled upon this visualization because I was looking into preferred methods of transportation in Portland, Oregon where I will be based this summer. First, I was impressed that it was a student who created this. The approach to create how commuting has change, and the suppression of it, was really well thought out. What I like about the rollover function is that each state has information pertaining to how many commuters are there, and who commutes by bike. And this is just one interactivity.

I thought about this a bit, and wondered the same thing about my own upcoming project. If you plan to have a lot of interactivity in your data, do you take away the focus of your story or do you focus more on the importance of it? My response would be no, because you are telling a story through different lenses whether it be about fatalities, government spending on creating bicycle infrastructure. I could be wrong though.

Week Two Reading

What’s interesting to point out in the visual search reading is that “Dwell Time” is depicted as deceased in visualization because there is not an emphasis on how much time a person takes viewing an object. In the article it is assumed that model visuals, in particular, Wolfe et al., 1989, have a “fixed amount of time to process,” which is not true, as explained in the article. The reason is because time is needed to focus on a visual, which in the article it is suggested that two examples of visuals may attract more “Dwell Time.”  But while this type of visual search is deceased, in section two, for basic features in visual search, color is listed as efficient to help visuals.  It’s interesting to notice that while there is an understanding that you cannot keep time drawn to a specific visual, but if you add a simple feature such as color, maybe it would draw time to a particular visual.


Multimedia Learning

In the role of understanding how multimedia is used, the debate in the article is that multimedia is best learned when it is taught by someone else. Though this may be true, my belief is that nothing beats understanding use of multimedia by practicing it firsthand. My idea is even supported in this article when the article goes into instructional support, and how “as learners gain mastery of basic knowledge and organizational structures, their need for external support to optimize their learning efforts decreases.” Well, that doesn’t explain it cohesively, but the idea is that by doing it on your own, you are able to understand after practicing.



One site that I found increasingly interesting is It’s an aggregated site that has links to news organizations. The various stories are placed within a box, and based on the number of comments the box grows bigger. The site feeds off the number of comments a particular article receives. All stories featured on the aggregated site vary on subject, and can be stories about the world, sports, and national news. It reminds me of the Daily Beast cheat sheet, though the Newsmap site does tell me which stories are the “number 1” story of the day, though it seems as though the bigger the box grows, the bigger the amount of readers that read it, which would perhaps make it the number one story.

Week Seven Reading

With my little understanding of oversampling, I believed that doing this was not a bad idea. Reading this article proves my theory correct. The idea of oversampling is getting more than what you needed, especially if you are paying for this information. With oversampling, you can wither down the information that you need, and still make use of the other information if needed. One problem with sampling, however, is that the information consumed could be wrong.

Classes are another important element in defining maps. By being able to identify the different types of classes, you are able to convey the different type of maps you want to show. By creating different types of classes, you are able to display different stories, and as far as visualizations go, you “let the data talk first.” This is a great way to have a map organized and not misleading, because you are defining the map by class.


I look a story that was done in the Seattle Times about methadone and how people have died from it. In this visualization that I looked at, the Times obtained information (death certificates) to explain how methadone has effected people in low income areas. The map show an exhausted amount of people that have died from this drug. While methadone is used as a pain killer, taking too much of it can be deadly.

Week One Reading

This idea of text being considered as “an ongoing sequence of words” in typography makes sense because its main use is primarily for content. As explained in the article, text dominants even when it has other things surrounding it, such as pictures, banners, etc. One part in the article that I was not sure about was that “design’s most humane functions is, in actuality, to help readers avoid reading.” Designs that are placed with text can be related to a text that is written. To an extent, I believe that designs help readers avoid reading, but those who want to read on the text will in fact do so. French critic Roland Barthes explained that his view on text is that it is “impossible to contain,” but I would contest that to explain to what extent? Barthes said that text can be “operating across a dispersed web of standard plots and received ideas,” which I would believe does not apply to all because text can be placed organized. Text in the digital media form is described in the article, as “thriving in the electronic realm” While that can be true, the article explained that Film titles, which the article considered a type of typography, said that it serves to distract the audience. I would question that because the use of text in film titles can be for those who are unable to hear.  Text can be also used as a way interpreting something that is unclear. The article continued to explain that in the digital age text developed into things such as graphic design. Edward Tufte, who is in favor of data visuals, said that text should be conveyed into a page in the digital form, as there may be a possibility to lose a reader. Peter Lunenfeld explained that the digital age has helped writing because it can cater to a particular reader.


In the article about database and narrative, the first line characterizes the meaning of its use, in that both a database and narrative is “a list of items” where both entities display a story. With a database as the article explained, a “creative process” can come from this as multiple stories can be written based on information obtained through a database. What’s interesting that the article points out that I agree with is that both can be considered the same thing.