Assignment 1

Listen To Wikipedia

Listen To Wikipedia

Although most people use Wikipedia on a daily basis, it is difficult to appreciate the scale of the web site. Listen To Wikipedia, a real-time audio-visualization of Wikipedia edits, helps effectively conceptualize that Wikipedia is one of the largest information libraries on the Internet. This application monitors all edits being made to Wikipedia by displaying circles for each edit made on the site. The size of each circle corresponds to the size of the edit and the colors represent the type of user making the change. Since Wikipedia edits are comprised of both addition and removal of text, Listen to Wikipedia complements the display of circles by playing bells sounds when additions are made, and strings sounds when subtractions are made. Listen To Wikipedia is interesting because it becomes easy to understand how dynamic Wikipedia is when seeing and listening to this project. Stéfan Sinclair explains that  interactive visualizations allow for the presentation of data that is sequential and iterative. As opposed to a static visualization, which would have provided a high level, generalized view of the types of edits made to Wikipedia, this project provides a live data stream of edits. This not only ensures that the viewer will never see the same information twice, but also gives them the ability to see exactly what pages are being updated. The high frequency of sounds and circles appearing on the screen gives the viewer a better level of understanding and information as compared to what we would see on a static graph.



As Warren Weaver explained in his article entitled “Science and Complexity” (1948), our modern society is dealing with “Problems of Organized Complexity.” We have access to large amounts of data, and need to find the ways of linking them in useful ways. This issue of finding the right data is prominent in the research community. When looking for research papers, it is often hard to find exactly what you are looking for. Paperscape eliminates this issue by visually mapping out research papers. This network visualization helps bring order to the complexity of finding research data by grouping and coloring different categories. Each paper is represented by dot, and is placed in a cluster of similarly colored dots, where each cluster covers the same topic. The size of each dot shows how often the paper has been cited and the dots are linked by similarities in citations. This dynamic visualization makes it much easier to explore research topics, compared to conventional search mechanisms. The versatility of this interface allows the visualization to be used in many ways. Rather than sifting through lists of papers, Paperscape makes it possible to find an interesting topic, see the most popular papers in that field, and find closely linked papers, all in one interface. As a result, it can be useful for non-experts to find gain a basic understanding of a topic by looking at the most cited papers for that topic (represented by the larger dots). Alternatively, experts in a field are able to find less common papers related to a certain subtopic by looking at smaller dots surrounding papers they are already familiar with. Experts can also find related subtopics to ones they are interested in by looking at nearby clusters of dots. This workflow provides a more intuitive and useful means of discovering new information for all researchers.


I got the first one under “Art” category:


Since it is not supposed to make any sense statistically, it is more for expressing the complexity and interoperability nature of  web science. Being as a developer myself, I can totally understand what this visualization is trying to tell us. It is a static visualization, in which there are tree like structure in  different colors representing different branch of web development technologies supposedly, such as front end development, web services, database system and etc. Each of them contains nodes and branches, in which presenting difference issues and sub-topics under certain greater topics. Also, these “trees” are intermingled, sharing same nodes, which indicate the fact that most of subjects in web science can not be studied or implemented standalone and acquire interdisciplinary thinking . In Chapter 2 of Lima, he mentions this kind of tree structure has “a significant influence in postmodern thinking, particularly in areas like communication theory, cyberspace theory, complex systems…”(44 Lima). I see this visualization as a perfect proving of his theory, as modern technologies become more subdivided  and simply more complicated  than any before.


Since I am also a fan of music of any kinds, I also found this one really interesting.

Here is the website for the origin visualization:

This one is called ” How music travel”. It is a dynamic visualization of the evolution of western dance music. Personally I think what make this visualization powerful and straightforward is the dynamic feature. From the screenshot we realize that there are tons of genres of music crossing different continents, and we can not really get any useful conclusion out of  this static screenshot. Due to the nature of the data, the evolution of music, which is developing  chronologically, dynamic visualization can be put in a good use here by only exposing certain part of data,which arranged in the order of time, to user at a time. Like Sinclair mentioned in his article, “Interactive visualizations, on the other hand, aim to explore available information, often as part of a process that is both sequential and iterative.” This visualization is undoubtedly one of the best presentations of how different visualization should be used properly in order to maximize the understanding  of the certain data.

Assignment 1

“Strife and Power in the Middle East”



This is by far my favorite visualization I have encountered so far. The conflict present in the Middle East is so complex due to the numerous countries involved along with the contrasting principles that several countries abide by. This visualization seeks to simplify the conflict as much as possible. Though there is a lot of important information that must be presented to accurately and authentically visually illustrate the conflict, the visualization does a fabulous job in making it as aesthetically pleasing and simple as possible. Though it is a static visualization, it could easily be transformed into a dynamic one. The creator of the visualization could implement the option of clicking on a country involved in the conflict or on an arrow explaining the negative connection between two countries. After the viewer clicks the country or arrow they could receive an in depth explanation of why it is important to discuss the connection when trying to understand the conflict and view the differing ideologies countries have. This visualization definitely encourages the viewer to understand the material from a variety of perspectives and illustrates how complex the Middle East conflict is.



“I have a headache”


Help-Remedies-Infographic-Full            Help-Remedies-Infographic-Detail-1


Unlike prescription medicine, the power of choice in purchasing over the counter medication often leads many people to spend much longer than expected at the pharmacy. Ignorant to the differences between medication, I often find myself looking for the brand I am most familiar with or the cheapest option. With a vast array of options available, this visualization seeks to aid the consumer in purchasing medicine that best suits their type of headache or desires. Aside from following the lines that lead you to your specific purchase, this is a static visualization as there is little interaction within the visualization. The division of products does not allow the consumer to compare the different types of medication nor contribute to new ways of understanding why the exact recommend medication is best suited for their headache. While I do appreciate the gesture to accelerate my shopping, the visualization is too overcrowded; one has to zoom in due to the abundance of information. The endless lines makes the consumer feel overwhelmed and it feels like the options never really end.