2011-05-11 17:36:06FEEDBACK NEEDED: History of Climate Science web design
John Cook


This is quick and nasty but I have to get this done before the weekend as I'm out of town till next Wednesday when we launch this. So feedback needed ASAP. This is the proposed design for Ville's peer-review visualisation:

The idea is if you click on any circle, the papers appear in the white box at the bottom. By default, the white box will include an explanation of the visualisation. Thoughts/comments/feedback?

2011-05-11 17:59:28
Glenn Tamblyn


Looks pretty good.


Are scroll buttons at each end possible. Might give better control of selecting a year than just a slider?

What will the list of papers look like when the list is long?

What is the performance like? Any sense of what happens if lots of folks are all slip slidding away at the same time?

2011-05-11 18:02:16Alternative design
John Cook


Or we can go with SkS branding. Which look do people prefer?

To answer Glenn's question:

  1. Scroll buttons? Have to ask Ville.
  2. If the paper list is long, it'll just flow off down the bottom of the screen and there'll be a scroll bar at right of screen
  3. You can see performance at http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate_science_history.php
  4. All the slip sliding happens at client side so more people shouldn't affect performance significantly.
2011-05-11 18:11:35Branding looks better
Glenn Tamblyn


The branded look is stronger, a little less 'pastel'.

2011-05-11 18:15:15A fly in the ointment
Glenn Tamblyn


Not to put a dampener on what is a great idea and a great effort so far, but having just run the visualiser, one thing leaps out at me.

Although Anti papers lag way behind, Neutral outdoes Pro for most of the history. This could easily be construed or twisted as 'the science isn't settled'.

Are we happy with the number of papers in the database so far and how they are weighted?

2011-05-11 18:30:14Neutral is almost expected when there's a consensus
John Cook

As Naomi Oreskes points out in her 2004 paper, when there's a consensus taken for granted, research doesn't need to confirm it. Neutral doesn't mean "undecided", just that the paper doesn't set out to answer that particular question. I'll have another look at Naomi's paper and borrow some text to clarify this.
2011-05-11 19:14:41
Glenn Tamblyn


I understand that John. My concern is with how this can be portrayed by the black hats.

2011-05-11 19:56:11
Ari Jokimäki


Loads of neutral papers are my fault. I have been adding lot of "related" papers where the paper in question touches the subject of the argument but doesn't actually address the argument. For example, to argument "it's methane" I have added papers that just report atmospheric methane measurements or perhaps just discuss some methane measurement issues - basically anything that has to do with methane.

2011-05-11 20:18:15Something to note
John Cook

Naomi Oreskes' 2004 survey found 75% of papers agreed with the consensus while 25% were neutral (or didn't address the issue). Her method of categorization is different to ours though, so it might not be relevant :-)
2011-05-11 23:56:44
Paul D


Hey I go out for a few hours and miss this??

Glenn, the performance will not be affected by hundreds of people moving the slider.

1. The code is downloaded in one chunk at the start, the browser executes the code, so the performance is down to what browser and platform you are using.

2. The data is downloaded in one chunk at the start, hence the message. After that all processing is by the browser/client platform. So no real performance issues there unless you have a really slow internet connection, then the data might take longer to download. But it won't change the performance of the slider/animation.

3. The only possible performance issue is when a circle is clicked on and the list of papers appear. That issue is in Johns 'domain' on the server.

Generally it isn't a bandwidth hogger.

2011-05-12 00:05:18
Paul D


Glenn re-papers and history.

Some points:

1. The project isn't IMO biased one way or another, it should reflect accurately the state of play regarding research over time. That means if in the 1960s there are a lot of neutral papers then you have to face those facts and deal with them!

2. It is never going to be static. Papers will move around, get argued over and more papers will be added or removed. That's the point of it and why it is an excellent idea. It will flow over time and change.

I was going to make another point, but can't remember what it was.

I'm actually looking forward to skeptics adding papers, also the discussions that will break out. If it is doing a good job, then I doubt if people here are going to have a quiet time. Should be interesting.

2011-05-12 00:11:18
Paul D


Regarding the design John.
I like the first colour, the greener one, I also like the first font and text colour, although I realise the second one is mor in line with the site style.
Would the colour and font of the second title, go with the first greener layout colour?

2011-05-12 00:21:39
Paul D


Regarding the length of the list.

I'm not sure, but it might be possible for longer lists of papers to be split into a series of pages. I don't think I need to do any coding, I think if John sends out the first page of say 25 papers, then sticks some links on the bottom for the 'next' and 'previous' pages, the subsequent pages would be loaded in the same Div container??!

It's all down to the http/get requests that are put on the links I think.

John you could try using an event handler on the links and call the Ajax function in my code:

ajax("text" ,url, DisplayContent);

I'm sure that would work. Does this make sense??
If not i can explain in more detail.

2011-05-12 06:07:27
Alex C


I think it would be more appropriate to use the SkS-based design, since this will be an SkS product.  I do think though that a) the logo should be added, and b) only "Science" should have the green wording, as "Science" at the top of all of our pages is the only one that has such a style.

I also prefer the second design anyways, probably because I'm used to it, but I also think it has something to do with SkS's color scheme being similar to my robotics team's.

Re list length, and bias one way v. another: I agree with what The Ville has suggested, and recommend too that there be a way to display all of the papers from a given year, not just a given bias.  Actually, a given bias would be nice too, if you could, say, convert the circle array labels to buttons that open up all of the skeptic/neutral/pro-agw papers.

I'm also inclined to think that the labels should be capitalized.  That's wholly my own preference, seeing fully lowercase words by themselves is one of my more absurd irritants.

I also like the three links you have below.  However, I like the layout in the second one better: have the "Who Made This," "About Skeptical Science," and "How Papers were Categorized" links above the list, so you don't have to scroll down when you click to open a list, you can just stay with the animation.  Perhaps above the box that the list is in, in the blue space between the list and the animation.

Should we add a "How You can Help" link too to make it easier for other people to add papers?

2011-05-12 06:51:14ditto
Dana Nuccitelli

I agree with Alex's comments.

2011-05-12 07:26:23
Paul D


It doesn't make sense to only colour the word Science green.

Graphically 'Climate Science' is an object and it is a different text to the main title and logo. In the main logo it does make sense to only colour the word Science the green colour because the context and reading of the sentence is completely different.

Unfortunately Alex, applying simple consistency doesn't always work correctly.
Added: Or rather simple consistencies like that are not what graphic design or any design is about. Colour is used to change the emphasis of the text/sentence.

In this case John is correct in colouring both words.

2011-05-12 07:41:08
Paul D


Just to add to my comment about text colour use...

Lets try the colour options using simple text:

1. The History of CLIMATE SCIENCE


2. The History of Climate SCIENCE

And that's the point. Colour should be used with text to express an emphasis. So that should be the goal, not a cross site consistency. Choose either option based on the emphasis you want and use consistent colour/font to maintain the site consistency.

2011-05-12 07:51:01
Paul D


I think my preference for the colour in the first design is because I don't like the blue colour of the current site. Doesn't work for me.

2011-05-12 07:55:35
Alex C


I guess you're right, it would subtract from the idea that they're one thought.

One other idea I had: if we're going to have various ways for people to interact with the animation, which instructions should we give explicitly?  I.e. we have the "Slide the bar" direction, but should we also have ones for "click the circle to see the papers from this year of this bias" or "click the label to see all the papers of this bias?"

2011-05-12 07:59:07
Alex C


Could we flip flop the colors?

Or, maybe we can use the logo colors, green and red?

I think the solid forest green is too monotonous, personally.  At least a lighter green, I like the top middle, left middle, middle, and bottom right here for instance.

2011-05-12 17:00:34
Paul D


Re: slide the bar and circle clicking.
Indeed, the ability to click on the circles is less obvious than the slider so should probably have an instruction. I did look at changing the cursor type when the rollover occurs, but I think there is some inconsistencies between browsers regarding compatibility.
I might have a look at that again at some point.

2011-05-12 17:12:39
Paul D


Can I make a suggestion...

There are a number of good additions that can be made to this project, which have been mentioned by Glenn, me and others over a number of weeks. However just adding features on the fly can result in a less well defined design. A design bodge.

My suggestion is for me to collate the best ideas together and produce a photoshop mock up of an enhanced version 2 of the project to be worked on and released after the initial launch of this first version next week. This is the best way to go IMO.

The project is by it's nature dynamic, because the graphics change over time depending on the database content. I don't think the publishing of the app should be linked to what goes on in the database, they are two different project issues IMO.

2011-05-17 05:42:46
Robert Way

2011-05-20 13:04:20
Glenn Tamblyn


Just ran the app on Firefox and IE side by side - IE is a dog speedwise compared to FF.

2011-05-20 17:52:37
Paul D


"Just ran the app on Firefox and IE side by side - IE is a dog speedwise compared to FF."


To be more accurate:

IE7 + Old pentium computer = sluggish
IE8 + New multi-core processor = OK
IE9 + New multi-core processor = problems that hopefully will be addressed by Raphael 2

Other combinations will probably produce other variabilities.

Another example is:

Safari on a Windows machine = fast
Safari on a Mac = sluggish

My personal opinion. IE is a dog and always causes problems when you want to do something half innovative. The best browser to view the app in is Chrome. Seems like Google spent some time doing what others couldn't be bothered to do.