Monday, December 17, 2007

Dynamic Graphs

In my line of work, we show a lot of data. Furthermore, all of that data is displayed within PowerPoint. Over time, we have become experts in the "display of quantitative information". We've learned how to make slides visually compelling and boil complex numbers and comparisons into easily understandable graphs and charts.

However, over time our information (and data) has become increasingly complex - and this has added a level of difficulty to our work. Our solution, we think, it to use something dynamic. This will allow the user to zoom in and out as they desire and not require us to physically create each level of detail within a new slide.

For example, let's say you have a picture of a car (slide 1). Then some body asks to just see the engine (slide 2). Then they ask to see the cylinders (slide 3). Then the pistons (slide 4). Lots of zooming involved. But then someone wanted to see the transmission (slide 4) and all the individual parts of the transmission (slides 5-20). Yet, there was one other person who wanted to see the interior (slide 21). Then the dash (slide 22). Then the fuel gauge (slide 23). Then the fuel gauge needle (slide 24). Oh wait! That's just one car! There are still 50 other cars to do this for, and each view has it's own PowerPoint slide! Not to mention the comparison views on one car to another (of say a 2006 model to a 2007).

Is there a tool out there that will allow people to choose their own view? Something that will let people peel their own onion on one slide with the data in the background? There are a couple options out there, but we're not sure what would be the best.

Ah yes, these are the types of concerns that keep us up at night.

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