October in the Spotlight – Data
We are having a really tough month with presenting data, its an interesting issue as we battle the paradigms of data and information vs presentation and usability. Great data poorly presented makes a page a nightmare and great presentation with poor data leaves one so underwhelmed you wonder if the system is broken or even finished.
So here is the issue the more you want to have usability in-built into the page, tabular data is harder to present, well across all browser / mediums. If we go straight for the html 4.01 w3c standard, you just get a load of auto sizing data in one massive table. Start to go all css3 on the table and you get diminishing returns for your presentation. Through in a bit of IE 7 and 8 support and its hard work.
personally we settled for a half way house, its not perfect but its basic:
- Naturally scrolling vertical table, the page can be long, but its data, get used to it.
- CSS3 to manage responsive design so it changes for media size
- CSS3 to manage a roll over highlight and a selected highlight colour
Note, no java script…
This is a half non blog, the real point of the message is rip out anything fancy and show in your face the data you want to user to get the value from. For all the occasions we look at glossing things up, it confuses the user group it is aimed at.