European Product Alerts

June 7, 2015

When a product (e.g. a toy, a childcare article or a household appliance) is posing a serious risk to the health and safety of civilians it will be collected in a central rapid alert system (RAPEX) by the European Commission. Notified products may need to be withdrawn from the market, recalled from consumers or warnings are needed to prevent risks and accidents.

The data visualization represents all collected products beginning from May 2013 and by clicking on one of the following tabs the products are displayed and structured based on a chosen attribute (e.g. products risk or category). It is possible to arrange every single product to a specific position because of the atomic representation. The underlying data is a multidimensional data model that allows the analysis of products from different perspectives. The free arrangement is used to summarize the products depending on each value (e.g. injuries) of one attribute (e.g. product risk). Through switching between two dimensions is a fluent animation used to arrange the products correctly. In this way, the user can track the change between two different stats.

Technical perspective

The visualization was not developed with CPU-centric visualization frameworks (e.g. D3.js). Instead a WebGL framework was used to support the GPU acceleration and to represent a much higher number of visual elements. The prototypical development supports data streaming to avoid delays through the static load of big files, too. Because of the technology mix the atomic visualizations provides the best fit to achieve an overview without losing any detail. From my point of view,  atomic visualization is a way to avoid data aggregation or elimination without sacrificing the information overload but requires the right visual metaphor. In particular, the visual design becomes more important when a lot of visual elements are represented. In short, if it’s not beautiful with a small number of visual elements it becomes even more visible when it scales to a lot of visual elements.

See the visualization

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