Embracing the Online Platform: Reporting Prowess
While it is true that we like to have our data and see it too, we also are human. Give us an inch, and we will ask for fully customizable capabilities wherever possible. It is a known fact. As we discussed in last week's post, offering users the option to interact with your data is important. Allowing them to analyze data for their own use or even the use of their team goes far beyond what some applications permit...but how do we go above and beyond?
Report, report, report...
When analysis is performed under most circumstances, it is a stepping stone to be shared throughout a team or organization. The data that is collected typically ends the day wrapped up in a report in your boss's inbox or printed out on your manager's desk. We think that to go above and beyond, sometimes you have to give the user the means to create such a thing without leaving your application.
One relatively obvious way to do this is to feature tools for export. Exporting functions in your more advanced tools can benefit your overall product. As shown to the right, Integrated Guardian allows the user to export geostatical parameters and results, plots, attribute tables, and templates - in addition to the map view.
Although some end-users may be satisfied in using simple tools like Export to PDF as a means of generating reports, other organizations might be interested in more technical and visually appealing products.
Who wants to read numbers and names all day, especially when they're in Attribute Table format? Hint: Not many people.
Offering features like interactive graphs and charts lets the user correlate relevant parameters by clicking on the graphs and seeing which features are highlighted. An example of reports users may find helpful are charts and plots. In addition to the geostatical analysis options, consider including charts and plots to generate reports. For example, Integrated Guardian utilizes third-party plotting technology to display interactive graphs - like scatter plots and histograms - on the map.
Providing them the option to export and share these also gives them major street cred...even if it's just in their office. Your Web Application can now come with a complementary World's Best Report Generator mug, if such a thing exists.
About This Series
These posts provide examples and reasoning for aspects that should be taken into consideration when building Web Applications and Web Maps. Other posts in this series discuss the benefits of the web, user interface features, types and quality of data included, advanced analytics, and reporting.
About the Application
The below applications are being used to illustrate the concerns mentioned:
Code-name Environmental Effects Data Management System, Integrated Guardian allows easy access to large volumes of past and current data collected for EEM programs. It is designed to be accessible from a web browser and does not require the use of a plug-in.