There are several ways to encode data in tables to visualize data effectively.
Let’s use the following example to discuss the techniques of text, color saturation, sparklines, and icons:
Imagine we have data on the sales of different types of fruits in a supermarket – apples, oranges, and bananas.
Text: The most straightforward way to represent data in a table is by using text. We could list the type of fruit in one column and their sales figures in another.
Color Saturation: An effective way to add more insight into your table is by using color saturation. The higher the sales figure, the darker the cell background shade. This method allows for a quick visual comparison of values.
Sparklines: Another way to visually represent data in a table is by using sparklines – tiny lines, bars, or area charts within a cell. This method is particularly useful when you have multiple data points over time.
For example, let’s consider the weekly sales of fruits in the past month:
Here’s another example of the same data using sparklines:
The Trend column with the sparkline chart that helps you visualize the sales trends quickly.
Icons: Visual elements, such as icons, can be used to enhance data tables.
For instance, using up and down arrows to depict an increase or decrease in sales. Like:
In this table, the arrow icons communicate the change in sales from the previous day quickly and effectively.