- Written by Tyler Curry
Data and Design: A Love Story
When did you first fall in love with your Data? Remember the initial ‘Aha!’ moment when an insight emerged from the records? Courting data is a crucial part of most business intelligence structures – cleaning, crunching and visualizing the proof of what was, to predict what could be. Unfortunately many datasets are left unexamined, never reaching their full potential. Data is evidence meant to inspire action, but without the knowhow, many observations go unnoticed.
For our July update we welcome the addition of two new features to SpreadsheetWEB: the Google Maps Extension and Stacked Objects feature. These elements extend the user experience by allowing more control over the analysis and design of data for more understandable and visually appealing insights.
As in any love story, you want to express the passion for your data to the world – and in the best light. If you have ever presented a project report or research findings, this feature is right up your ally!
Imagine that your dashboard is like a scrap book; expressing memories through narrative using visuals and text. The same concept applies to SpreadsheetWEB. Created with the end user in mind, the dashboard encourages creative and interactive storytelling by stacking objects (i.e. charts, images, text, etc.) onto the interface. What’s more, this feature requires zero instillation and can be used locally (on the computer) or right in your browser.
This feature also allows stacked objects to overlay one another; instead of pushing neighboring dashboard elements to the side. Each object is arranged by the order it was clicked, and the active object holds the top layer of a stack. If a dashboard has a graph and a text box, I can click-and-drag the text box to place it on top of the graph. Vice versa, the graph can sit on top of the text box if it is the most recently activate. Once the object placements are in the desired order, the arrangement can be viewed and shared using the application’s Read Only mode.
GOOGLE MAPS EXTENSION
SpreadsheetWEB is off to the races with its new extension capabilities. These extensions work with third party tools to aid the visualization process. Google Maps is one of the first of many extension features underway. With the Google Maps extension, data can be visualized by density, location and/or value. These properties help tell the stories that have yet to be uncovered by incorporating latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates that correlate to each individual dataset. This extension works as a great addition to any dashboard, particularly when comparing geospatial data:
- Heat maps serve multiple purposes. A typical use could show the quantity of a value in a specific area (i.e. number of arrests by city, employment rates by nation, etc.). This method is often used for anything from predictive analysis to the number of Foursquare check-Ins, across the country.
- Location maps are great aides to the decision making process, and provide a broad picture of each dataset’s geographic relationship to the other. SpreadsheetWEB collects data that is imported and maps it using the coordinates associated with the dataset. If you have ever looked up a business’s location in Google Maps, you might recall this method.
- Location and Data is a convergence of the previous two types of extensions. Here we have the individualized placements of the Location Map with the added dimension of density, found in the Heat Map. Each circle represents a location, and the size of the circle represents the property associated with the location.
Working with data will only become more intertwined into our daily decision-making as more methods to capture it become available. These new features offer advanced manipulations of data in order to make more effective business decisions.
SpreadsheetWEB is a cost-effective plug-in for Microsoft Excel that allows users from virtually all experience levels to produce complex web applications that analyze, calculate and extract pertinent insights from simple and composite spreadsheets. To learn more about how to integrate these new features to your SpreadsheetWEB applications, or request a SpreadsheetWEB demo contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Fall in love with your data all over again!