Effective Methods of Applying Responsive Data Visualization in Web Design 


Having a lot of data is a great thing, as long as it can be put together into a logical scheme that is easily understood by a human mind. Since humans are visual creatures, this is most effectively communicated through diagrams, charts, graphs, and pictures. This principle, known as data visualization, can help users and businesses leverage the mapped-out data to identify meaningful patterns, notable correlations, and trends.

With the market for web design as competitive today as it has ever been, web designers and web designing consultants are constantly striving to stand out. For that reason, they seriously consider the application of data visualization techniques. In Big Data, where the influx of information is constant and overwhelming, simple ways of making sense of the data and identifying important patterns from it are essential for data scientists. Furthermore, so much data coming in means that it needs to be swiftly analyzed. By compiling the data into simple, easy-to-understand visualizations, users can better make sense of the findings, which in turn serves to increase the efficacy of work and promotes improved collaboration.

While many commonly used conventional data visualization methods, they do not all translate equally well to smaller screens. This is an inherent problem for many web design projects as it could result in important information missing from the user’s line of sight. However, data scientists get around this by utilizing responsive web design. We will now talk about how this concept helps to improve the ability to take in data visually.

What Is Responsive Design?

These days websites can be reached with a myriad of methods and via numerous devices. With everyone now owning a smartphone or tablet, consumers rightfully expect to have their website accessing experience through their mobile device be comparable to access it from a browser on their PC. Modern consumers will not bother with a business website that is not optimized for their devices, turning to competition that does afford them the ability to navigate in a device-agnostic manner freely.

The web design approach that optimizes websites to be accessed and navigated from any device is responsive design. The concept’s core principle is that the website, when accessed and right before it is rendered to display, should detect and adapt to the device’s navigational style and screen dimensions used to access it. 

However, this does not simply mean that the website will be mobile-friendly. There is a distinction between mobile-friendly (adaptive) sites and ones executed with responsive design. 

Adaptive design means that the webpage will be fit to the screen of the device used, but that often means that the display of all of the context of the site will be forced into a finite amount of space, causing users to have to squint and strain their eyes or use the zoom function to enlarge certain portions of the page. By contrast, responsive design adjusts the display relative to the target screen, emphasizing the site’s most essential parts by changing to its pixel width. In this manner, the user experience is maintained by bringing up the website in a display just right for the screen it is being accessed from. This adjusted resize applies not just to the framing and the text, but embedded images, which will also need to resize to scale with the display.

Resizing to fit the screen is just one aspect of responsive design, however. Designers need to ensure that the dimensions of the images are quickly modified to ensure that they render in the same quality and with the exact resolution as they would when viewed from any other device. If optimizing images in this manner sounds like a lot of work, it is. Luckily, you don’t have to do this work on your own, as there are a plethora of image optimizing solutions available that allow the process of responsive images to be automated. There is also a treasure trove of online resources that can answer any questions and walk you through using most of these tools. JavaScript and similar web development technologies provide many app visualization tools for web developers for these exact purposes.

Application of Data Visualization In Responsive Design

Because every aspect of the website needs to be viewable in the most optimal manner regardless of accessing the device, web developers follow a set of adaptive design principles. The first step is to adapt the visualization to the screen size, then determine how to render the visuals best to quickly understand the presented information. 

For instance, web visualizations on mobile devices often run into visual and functional issues. Imagine for a moment displaying a map of the world on a mobile device without a site that is optimized for such a purpose. The likelihood of clearly defined countries and world regions being visible would be pretty low, and a user would undoubtedly need to zoom in on various parts of the map to find what they need to see. 

Luckily, scalable vector graphics allow data scientists to utilize interactive data visualization methods, adapted specifically for mobile and tablet devices whose screens are smaller than laptops or desktop monitors. Scalable vector tools include Viewbox, Bootstart, and D3.js. All of these help to generate clear visualization graphics for users. There are also technologies like AJAX that can assist developers in developing dynamic pages that do not need to reload to adapt to their display environment in real-time.

With such a high focus on mobile optimization, it’s hardly surprising that most web design projects begin with mobile sites in mind, then scaling them up for devices with larger screens. Using an API approach helps raw data organizations generate an output rendered in the desired format. Data visualization is applied via the same principle, allowing the website’s visual display with essential HTML code functions.

Strategies Of Utilizing Data Visualization In Web Design

Consider these essential data visualization tips that are applied to web and mobile designs. 

  •     Specific audience consideration: If the aim is to present visualizations to beginners and lamens, they should obtain a high degree of clarity, engagement power, and structure. Expert-geared visualization can be more refined and detailed so that experienced readers can make their data assessments. 
  •     Pertinent data should be easy to see and identify: Any interactive features on the site should be used only to provide additional information, not as a means of getting to the primary data. Simply put, mobile users want to use navigation buttons as little as possible.
  •     Leveraging visual salience: Visual salience is the quality of either the item or image predominant in grabbing viewers’ attention. For mobile and tablet versions of sites, this principle helps to focus on the site’s primary elements by making them stand out.
  •     Visual hierarchy: This principle helps direct users to the importance of information by highlighting the correlations and trends and charts with legends to help users readily traverse the data.
  •     Focus on mobile-centric design: When starting designs for more giant screens and scaling down, it is far easier to lose details in the data visualization than going the other way. Starting with smaller screens will allow the most optimal development focus to go to smaller screens, with upscaling allowing optimization to scaled-up website versions later.

Final Thought

These days display of Big Data findings without the use of visualization tools is nearly unthinkable. By utilizing data visualization tools, developers can better showcase the pertinent information, translating it and its importance to the site visitors. 

Additionally, data should be communicated optimally regardless of the device used, with visualizations applying to any screen format, including smaller mobile devices. When users can visualize the data clearly, they can better understand it. This leads to a better user experience, which every web designer strives to achieve. It will also assure that web professionals can always provide their customers with top-notch data visualization solutions and stay competitive in a bustling, overachieving industry.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. CascadeBusNews.com • CBN@CascadeBusNews.com

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