UI issue with arrows

I think the general confusion over whether a higher GDP raises or lowers unemployment speaks to a fundamental failing in the UI and that is the fact that the arrows don’t explain what I want to know when I look at them.
The arrows between bubbles should instantly convey to you:

  1. How much is it affecting it?
  2. Is the relationship inverse or direct?

It does a good job of conveying the first item but not the second. When I see a green arrow going from item A to item B I know that Item A is somehow increasing the incidence of Item B. What I don’t know is if I increase item A will it increase or decrease item B. The only way to know for sure it to play with the slider. And if there’s no slider (like with GDP) then the only way is to observe over time. In most cases on the interface if a green arrow means a direct relationship where increasing A increases B and a red arrow means an inverse relationship where increasing A decreases B. This feels intuitive. But some relationships buck this trend and GDP -> unemployment is one of them.

I think I know what you mean, but the problem is some relationships can be extremely complex. For example some laws can both raise, or lower the effect of an item, depending on the setting, and the midpoint may not be the midpoint of the effect. This would cause mayhem if you tried to explain it in a ‘direct’ or ‘inverse’ way. Generally, when you see a ‘problem’ area, you want to see what is causing the problem, so what is feeding in and raising, or lowering it, which is most clearly shown with red/green lines.

I disagree. When I’m looking at a particular issue that I’m trying to improve the question “Why is it the way it is?” is rarely relevant except to the point that I am asking it to find out “What do I need to change and it which direction to achieve the desired effect?” The way the red and green arrows work obscures the answer to that question. I understand that it’s not an easy problem to solve but I think it’s a big one. I think the only way you would run into the issue you’re talking about is if a policy were optional AND could influence things either way depending on setting. Otherwise you could just adjust the baseline and then have the influencing bubble always provide a positive or negative effect. The only one I can think of off the top of my head is the robotics research but there’s probably more.

I think that would make more sense too. Again to the GDP arrow a green implies that GDP is boosting unemployment implying that if I eliminated my GDP entirely then unemployment would be extremely low. Obviously a fallacy. Also when military spending is low it has a red arrow to patriots implying that the military is making patriots unhappy and thus eliminating it would make them happier. I doubt that is true.

I think the use of red and green confuses a lot of people since red typically means "bad and green typically “good”, where as here it simply means, increasing or decreasing and leaves interpreting wheather it’s good or bad up to the user. I like that you have to think for yourself, but I think maybe using different colours might help, although I’m not sure which.

I posted this on the games facebook page and Got NO reply.
A quick question: In the game the red lines means things going down and the green lines meaning things going up?
Or is the red for bad (worse) and green for good (better)?

A little confused…

For example: My current game shows Pollution as a green bar +50% and a Asthma epidemic a red bar 29.71%

Does this mean Pollution is up 50% bad or 50% better represent by green?
Asthma epidemic down at 29.71 % or red meaning bad? The red green, left right bars are to me confusing???

Should have been bars that go up or down and different colors.

Any help appreciated… being new to the game all I can do is ask. LOL


as far as I understand green means increasing and red means decreasing. Any interpretation as to wheather it’s good or bad for you are left up to you and depends on your point of view in a lot of cases.