August 2nd, 2007
Handling and presenting large amounts of data is often a challenge many organizations are faced with. There are issues such as the number of fields that must be shown, the height and width of the cells the data must fit in, visual noise and redundant content, filtering and sorting mechanisms, vertical and horizontal labeling, and, of course, vertical and horizontal scrolling when tables become large.
The U.S. Census Bureau has an interesting way of handling one of these complexities associated with displaying large amounts of tabular data. At the top of many of their population characteristic data sheets, the Census Bureau site designers have installed a very nice header that tells you which data sheet you are in, the population estimate for the certain characteristic you are looking at, and the margin of error. In this case I was looking at general demographic characteristics for 2005.
As you begin to scroll down the page, the header moves along down the page with you, not only reminding you what it is you’re looking at, but also providing a mechanism to clearly read across the table without getting the different subcategory or number rows mixed up.
How do you handle the complexities associated with large amounts of tabular data? What do you think of the floating header? What do you think about the design of the rest of the tables?Tweet