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Data tables aren’t just for data sheets

Occasionally I like to get into graphic design, because although I’m no expert at implementation, it’s essential to understand what works and what doesn’t when subcontracting work to professional designers. Sadly, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by their ability to choose nice colours and fonts, and forget to see if they actually understand usability, structure and organisation.

Few of us in technical marketing will have websites without tables of data. However, tables can also be a great way of displaying and summarising simple arguments (“us: tick – the competitors: cross”). There’s a lovely article on Noupe called Data Tables In Modern Web Design which looks at how data tables offer a structured way of showing information. For a technical audience, this will always appeal.

Data tables aren’t just for data sheets. Their content doesn’t have to be numbers. They don’t have to be black and white. And on a website, they can be interactive. Think outside the border. It’s a design exercise, but it’s something you can do better than a designer.

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