Modern websites have come a long way from the original pages that you’d find on the world wide web when it first launched in the 1990s. Plain text and block colors have been replaced with elegant, user-friendly layouts that are simultaneously works of art and masterpieces in functionality to display data.
The development of CSS and HTML5, as well as more powerful devices and faster internet connections, have also allowed us to add multimedia content and more images to our online content. This can help make our message easier to understand by appealing to the different learning styles found in humans, whilst also providing a more engaging experience.
Ways to Display Data on Your Website
For those looking to display data on a website, this creates an opportunity to use these modern web technologies to provide information in a format that is easy to understand.
Take Advantage of Imagery
It is often said that a “picture is worth a thousand words”, and this is certainly true when trying to demonstrate complicated topics or communicate large amounts of data. For example, if we take the population figures for countries with native English speakers: the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada, and “Others”, an image can more easily convey the vast size of the US population.
Whilst it is easy to see that the USA’s (327 million) population is larger than the UK’s (66 million) just from looking at the numbers, the pie chart above shows how significant the difference is from just a glance. The contrasting colors in the chart help to demonstrate the enormity of the US population over all of the other countries.
Visual representation is not limited to graphs and charts. Infographics are very popular tools for conveying data in a format that is more interesting and engaging. These are often used as part of a website’s content marketing and SEO. Engaging and informative infographics can be easily shared and posted on other websites, which in turn create backlinks to your homepage. The natural process of infographics being shared by members of the public demonstrates the success of conveying data in this format.
Differentiate Numbers With Colour
Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest. If you are displaying large quantities of data that is regularly changing. Colors can help to show the changes in just a glance. For example, odds comparison website Oddschecker uses different colors to demonstrate if and how odds are changing. It uses four different colors in its lists of betting odds:
- Red shows odds that are drifting
- Blue shows odds that are shortening
- Grey shows odds that are static
- White shows the best odds
This allows the reader to very quickly see changes in odds and understand the general trends in the market. A similar approach is used by finance and stock market websites like Google Finance. Typically, red is to stock prices that are trending downwards. Green indicates when they are increasing in value.
Use Videos to Display Data
Many videos online now are just clips of people talking, with few or no props. Often this is just a multimedia version of an already existing article. The reason that people are more willing to watch a video about a topic than they are to read. Even if the video takes exactly the same amount of time to watch. As it would take to read the text. Many people just perceive reading as more work and opt for the easy option.
Therefore, using video content to communicate data may help to overcome this inherent ‘laziness in the digital generation. For example, The YouTuber Jack Chapple used a video to explain statistics and concepts in stock market investing. He simply stood in front of a blackboard writing bullet points and numbers in chalk. He could quite easily have written this in a lengthy article. But the video made it more interesting and engaging to the audience. The success can be in the fact that this single video has received almost 2.5 million views.
There are many ways you can display data on a website. However, the most successful methods are to make the content interesting. Engaging and easily distinguishable at just a glance. The nature of the data and the intended audience will influence how you choose to display it. It is likely that a combination of methods will lead to better results than just relying on one medium.