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Week Six Reading

February 22, 2012

Choropleth Maps

After reading about choropleth maps, it is important to note the misrepresentation that can happen when creating a type of map such as this. While reading about this topic on choropleth maps, I was trying to understand why there was clearly one part of the map that showed distinct parts of poverty, and other places that did not have the same visual? That can be a problem because perhaps the creator of the map did not want to do that. When trying to highlight something relating to maps using color, it is important to choose a color that does not over-represent what one wants to display on a map. By playing too much (or too little) with color, the end result will be what was heavily criticized with the map, which was big difference in class displayed by color.

One of the problems in addition to poor color choice mentioned, is identifying something that is not correct. In the example of the choropleth map which discussed poverty, it’s important to note the importance of not sensationalizing something on a map that is not necessarily true. Granted, there may be, in fact, some truth about this map about poverty in the United States, but displaying it the way the Guardian did makes it as if it is happening in one part of the U.S. when in fact it is happening in other parts too.

Proportional Maps and Cartographic projections by demographics (such as population)

What should be noted when viewing this proportional map is that there is a clear difference in blue and red. This does not strike me as a problem because of the information provided. During the election, I want to see which state voted for who, and by how much. This interactive map created by the Times does. Looking at the interactive map, I feel as though this is a complete map because of the following. It shows who won, and how many people voted. Again, this map can be a bit disproportional because how many people voted in each state, but overall I think it is a complete map.

Layout Critique:

This week I get to highlight my favorite web site. Sports Illustrated. What I like about this site is that when you arrive at the homepage, there are three important stories of the day, all of which are highlighted by photos. These photos are moving every 30 seconds to a minute. They later get displayed with something different. Each story with the photo does not take more time than the other. No story is important than the other. Toward the right of the site are links to stories within SI.com. Above the pictures are different tabs that correspond to different sports. Again, none is better or bigger than the other. This and the site are displayed well, and can be easily guided by the user.

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One Comment
  1. SEM permalink

    As you noted, the large-photo format of Sports Illustrated’s homepage makes it easy to identify the three top stories on the site, while the text-only headlines at right provide a good amount of additional content. Using the large format photo gives the viewer a good sense of what the story is about (presumably the team/players/game pictured) and a straightforward way to access it. The hierarchy here is clear. What I’d be curious to know is how many visitors scroll “below the fold” of this top navigation area and click on the links below. That top area is so self-contained, I wonder if some new visitors miss the fact that there’s more below.

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