Posts Tagged ‘eye tracking’

Chinese Evade U.S. Sanctions on Iran (Wall Street Journal)

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

no-trade-zone-us-china-iran-sanctions

[Editor's note: This world map from the Wall Street Journal uses map symbols that reinforce the thematic color coding of countries. The symbols all feature a hand (common gesture for "stop"), and shape and color differences further differentiate the symbols. This graphic overloading of visual variables (using more than just shape, or just color, or just size) ensures a larger number of readers will comprehend the map's visual message. In this case, color between the symbols and the choropleth map colors links the symbols with the countries. All countries are directly labeled with their name and explanation. I like this map for a second reason: the Wall Street Journal is using a new CMS (content management system) that the Washington Post is also working to adopt and it shows how graphics can be flowed inside the article text instead of getting lost in a tab, link, or thumbnail. Many eye tracking studies show that readers spend more time on graphics than on article text but online, graphics are often hard to find (if they are found at all). This new CMS puts graphics back in the natural flow of reading.]

Republished from the Wall Street Journal.
By PETER FRITSCH

Chinese companies banned from doing business in the U.S. for allegedly selling missile technology to Iran continue to do a brisk trade with American companies, according to an analysis of shipping records.

A unit of state-owned China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corp., for example, has made nearly 300 illegal shipments to U.S. firms since a ban was imposed on CPMIEC and its affiliates in mid-2006, according to an analysis of shipping records by the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, a nonprofit proliferation watchdog.

A Wall Street Journal review of the records and interviews with officials at some of the American companies indicate that the U.S. firms likely were unaware they were doing business with banned entities, and in many cases were tripped up by altered company names.

The CPMIEC shipments, worth millions of dollars, include everything from anchors and drilling equipment to automobile parts and toys. In many cases, CPMIEC acted as a shipping intermediary — activity also banned under a 2006 presidential order.

The ability of CPMIEC and other foreign companies to continue doing business in the U.S. despite the sanctions comes as the Obama administration considers fresh economic sanctions against Iran. The illegal shipments suggest that U.S. sanctions have become so numerous and complex that they have become difficult to enforce.

Continue reading at the Wall Street Journal . . .

Allowing non-linear access into a narrative

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

One of the regular features of my childhood were my grandmother’s slide shows. She retired in the 1970s and started traveling around the globe, often sending me postcards along the way and keepsake Christmas ornaments on the holiday. When family gathered at her house in Santa Cruz, California we would be treated to a meal featuring traditional dishes of, say, Morocco and then sit back and hear her narrate slides, Kodak projector fan whirring in the background.

Slide shows are something most of us are familiar with and the organizing metaphor translates well onto the computer. Maybe too well.

Nora Paul and Laura Ruel published an article titled “Navigating slide shows: What do people choose when every choice is possible?” in June’s issue of the Online Journalism Review (Annenberg School of Journalism, University of Southern California).

The two authors conducted a eye-tracking study to determine how 34 people viewed an online, interactive slide show produced by washingtonpost.com.

Cuba Slideshow

The Cuba by Korda slide show interface is quite complicated yet retaining a certain simplicity. There are Next and Previous buttons, an autoplay option, and methods to both skip ahead to Slide X by a numerical listing at the bottom of the slide show and a link to View Thumb(nails) as a contact sheet.

It turns out the majority of readers, even when given all these options, still view the slide show in it’s original narrative form by repeatedly pressing the Next button.

Those same people viewed twice as many of the slides before bailing-out than those using the numbers to jump around (the time spent was equivalent). Perhaps random access by number is good for people who have scare time, especially since they end up getting sucked in to the slides that matter more to them?

But that brings up an interesting subthread: fully 1/3rd of all viewers switched back and forth between the several interface modes. They might have started pressing Next, and kept proceeding that way, but at some part started jumping around via the slide numbers. Or I can imagine someone sharing the show with a friend over email with a note to check out Slide 8 (and skip the rest).

Having the numerical slide listing facilitates access into that linear timeline.

But most of us just want to click Next.