The Art Of Presenting Data Attractively

by admin on July 19, 2011

The Art Of Presenting Data Attractively

One day I was surfing the web in search of new useful, interesting or simply amusing websites. Among others I came across one resource. I will not give its URL in order not to be accused of hidden promotion or counter-advertising. I can only say that the majority of the website content consisted of the variety of statistics about everything on the Earth. Biggest animals, most successful movies, longest buildings, top search terms and so on, and so forth The presented information seemed to be rather structured. It was divided into special categories like Animal world, Human actions. IT facts etc. where every separate record was given in the form of so called TOP 10. But I got completely lost in the abundance of the information. The reason is simple. There was nothing to catch my eye. Words, words and nothing but the words got me depressed. And I left the site though the information given really was interesting to me.

Some time later I started to think about the role visualization plays in our perception of the website.
It is widely known that the majority of the information we receive comes to our mind through images. The speed of visual data perception and adoption is much higher than in the case of mere text. No matter how unique is the content, plain figures enumeration without appropriate image support usually causes irritation and desire to get rid of the annoying factor. At the same time even simple small chart or diagram can make U-turn in the situation. So how this fact can be used to make people come, stay and above all return to your website?
For instance let’s take the websites of numerous banks, investment companies and financial corporations. In the conditions of the developing crisis they are obliged to fight for every existing or potential customer. So why not to represent so essential data of the infinite economic and financial indices, rates and values in the form of bar graph or histogram? They will display the entire picture to the clients as well as give the possibility to better data analysis.
The main goal of data visualization is to communicate information, but more efficiently, clearly and obviously than the simple words do. Today we have many tools to display data on the site. The best way to enter data to the content of the web site attractively and in eye-catching way is to use flash components. Most of them do not require installation, work with many scripting languages and run on most of the browsers and support dynamic update of data in XML format. The variety of colors, types of diagram and interactivity make them very good tool for creating scalable and completely adjustable charts and animated graphs.s.

Today we could find plenty of flash chart and graph components for appropriate data visualization. We can name some of them.

Open Flash Chart (http://teethgrinder.co.uk/open-flash-chart) – is an open source project providing flash charts that can present data in a variety of formats. It has classes written in PHP, Perl, Python, Java, Ruby on Rails, and .Net. FusionCharts (http://www.InfoSoftGlobal.com/FusionCharts) – A Flash based 3D and 2D animated charting component with a number of options including AJAX/JavaScript integration. FlyCharts (http://flycharts.net) – highly functional and easy-to-use flash chart component. It is interactive, scalable and flexible with external JavaScript interface and DHTML Grid integration.

In fact, the list is almost endless and for sure can be added with such tools as SWF/XML Charts, AmCharts, AnyCharts, Google Chart API, etc.

Besides interactive charts displaying statistics and exact figures the website can be enhanced by different graphs, flowcharts and org charts. There are separate tools to implement this option such as Origramy Flash Graph Component or Gliffy.

Origramy Flash Graph Component (http://origramy.com) is a component designed for creating and viewing diagrams and graphs. The component has rich and intuitive multilingual interface, JavaScript support, several export formats and wide data organization ways. Gliffy (http://www.gliffy.com) is a free web-based diagram editor for creation and sharing flowcharts, network diagrams, user interface designs and other drawings online.

The usage of just one of these tools are surely catches the visitor’s attention and make them feel and understand what is hidden behind the figures and not to leave the site thereby.

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