I am designing something that will use a colored map - with red (worst), yellow (middle) and green (best) for separate regions that would be better or worse for an individual to visit.
These depend on several user selectable settings. Considering that, currently I have this set to an absolute scale - if a user's value is below a certain threshold, he'll get a color for a lower value. So for instance if his score was, say, 7 out of 10, the region in question would appear yellow - even if that is the current highest score on the map.
The other way I am thinking about doing this is as a relative value - I will put all of the calculated values into an array and go through the first 1/3, and then the second 1/3, etc. This would ensure that 1/3 of all regions are green, 1/3 of all regions are yellow, and 1/3 of all regions are red.
Which is preferable to user experience and user configuration? What is less confusing to the user? My guess is that relative would probably actually be easier for a user to understand - it conveys more information that is relevant to the user - "Oh, those regions are the best on the map for me". Is this analysis correct?