It used to be that any graphical component of your website was just a static image. But this didn’t take advantage of the interactivity possible on a screen. I’m currently building a website to present various statistics in a more visually interesting and engaging way. Straight up tables of numbers can be incredibly dry and hard to understand. By converting these statistics into interactive graphs and charts, I’m giving site visitors a better way to engage with and understand the data.
Google Charts provides the tools for rapidly generating interactive graphs. I can choose from a variety of graphs, quickly insert the data, customize it and include it on a webpage. The graphs can be animated and visitors can hover over the chart to explore the data. Try it with this pie chart:
Need to convey some numbers, even simple numbers? Incorporate an interactive graph, map, or chart.
For my current project, I’m adding graphs to a WordPress-based website using a plugin called wpDataTables, which means I can create my charts without touching any code at all. This is a great option for those who “don’t want to get their hands dirty” by working under the hood of their website.
Using dynamically generated charts saves time because we can easily update the data without needing to create new images. For my current project, I am creating the initial graphs and my client can update them later.
This project requires many similar pie charts. If I was using images, I would have to create one image per chart. But using dynamically generated charts means I can just copy and paste some text, modify it, and I’ve got a second chart.
Using Google Charts (and other similar graphing libraries) means:
- I can quickly provide a visual representation of the data
- Visitors can interact with the data
- The graph can be easily edited
- The graph can be easily copied
- The graph can be animated
There are so many ways to communicate something visually and that’s even true for statistics!
Here are a few of the charts available in Google Charts: