New Features Added To Motion Chart

The Google blog (Motion Chart Scavenger Hunt Followup) revealed new motion chart features, comments on the changes have already been posted. Here, there are some of the changes I discovered and their possible benefits. 1. Data Selection

select

select

The first new feature easy to find is the select/deselect option. It is possible to select 0, 1 or more items from the list, making easier to know which information is displayed.

2. Bar chart

tab

tab

At the top-right side of the graph you can find a new tab to see the same information shown in the bubble graph but this time as a bar chart. When you move from one type of graph to the other, some information about the new settings is kept such as the elements selected, and opacity, but not the zoom in/out property.

3. Zoom in - Zoom out

Now it is possible to zoom in the information shown in the bubble and bar chart. The steps are explained in the tool in order to Zoom in.

a. Put your mouse in the chart area. b. Hold down the left mouse button and draw a rectangle over the items you want to zoom in. c. Release the left mouse button. d. In the menu that pops up, select 'Zoom in'.

zoomin

zoomin

4. Bubble opacity

In my opinion one of the most useful new features is the ability to manage the bubble opacity. At the right side of the graph there is a tool icon[], clicking in there you can find a slider from 0% to 100% to define how opaque do you want the items that are not selected. In the next 2 images you can see the same element with using the opacity in 0% and in 50%.

opac0

opac0

opac2

opac2

5. Tools advanced

Finally, there is an option for advanced users that shows a piece of code to be embedded in flash code.

settings

settings

Those who have previously used the motion chart can notice that there was also a change in the way to show the color dimension bar. Before it was placed horizontally, now it is vertical, making easier to see the scale in numbers but taking more space in the page.

bar1

bar1

bar2

bar2

Some of the benefits I have discovered so far are:

play

play

1. Hide/Show Information: The rule used to manage the opacity is very useful when you don't want to show some information. You can select the items you want to display and set the opacity to 0% or if you want to see all the bubbles without any difference between the selected and unselected, you can setup the opacity to 100% e.g. imagine that you need to record the behaviour of three dot points to show them in a presentation and you want to hide irrelevant information related to the other points. Well, with the new select and opacity option it is possible, you only have to select the dot points you would like to show and set the opacity to 0%. Then, click on the "play" [] button to see the chart in action during the period of time selected.

2. Clean Graph: Also the opacity is useful to clean the screen in order to understand better the graph when you are using the trail option and you want to see only the information of one, two or other specific number of bubbles.

3. Using bubble opacity and zoom in together help to focus on information that you really want to see and avoid distractions.

4. Zoom in small Data: The "zoom in" is really useful for those cases where you have the dimension size setup and some small bubbles or overlapped compared to other data. In the previous version when this happened you had to leave the dimension size set to "same size". However, now it is possible to have different sizes and for those we are interested in just use the zoom in functionality.

5. Quick Data Selection: The selection feature is useful when you want to show information quickly about some specific data. It is easier to select from the list of the 10 first items displayed in the right side rather than check every element in the graph. If we want to reset that, we just need to click in the option "deselect all" which is enabled once we have selected at least one item from the list.

These are just some of the benefits of the new features. I'm pretty sure you will find more, specially when you start playing with the tools together e.g. bubble, zoom in, trails and different size dimension together.

I think the motion chart is a utility that allows us to visualize different data in one single graph. There is only one more feature I would like to have to give 10 points to this tool, and it is the option to change the range of date without going back to the normal report located in the menu.