Our overall perspective on data visualisation has been inspired by field experts like Edward Tufte and Stephen Few. We focus on charting which works for business reporting, and have added a number of charting components to address gaps in native Excel visualisation.
In-cell charts display within an individual Excel cell, and can be highly effective as part of a data table to show historical context, show relative volumes, actual to target, distribution or to flag issues. Easy to use and highly configurable they are a great addition to business reporting which require very little screen real estate.
Also known as Trellis charts, Small Multiples connect directly to the data source and are highly interactive. They are used to display multiple charts varying by one selection criteria on the same chart framework, for example each chart displaying sales for a different product across the same time period. They can be used to quickly configure a pre-determined view of the data, or for interactive data discovery through chart driven drilldown.
TreeMaps represent hierarchical data as a set of nested rectangles (tiles) where the area of the tile represents one metric and the colour a second metric. They can be a highly effective way to visualise regional sales where for example States may be the outer tile, and Cities would be nested tiles within the State. Colour is often used to identify an issue in the data, for example red may signify negative margin.
XLCubed provides both point and shape based geospatial mapping. Maps are interactive and can be zoomed and panned as required, can be configured to display additional information on hover over, and used as selectors for other areas of the report.
We see Data Visualisation as a process - there isn't one right colour, chart type or aspect ratio, and ultimately behind every great dashboard there needs to be a solid business case. Data Visualisation is somewhere between science and art, and having sat in many workshops as part of the dashboard design process it's obvious that people would like some rules. Whilst it would be easy to say that we can arrive at these by analysis, real world experience tells us that some people just don't like blue or that cultural considerations dictate whether the most important item should be on the left or the right of the dashboard. Critically, the solution needs to be accepted in the organisation, and that requires a mix of vision, technique, and pragmatism. Our products give users flexibility for layout and formatting, and an extended business focused chart library to help visualise information in meaningful and innovative ways to help make better business decisions. See the (link*case study*) for an example of how we helped a customer in banking.
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