7.8. Communicating Status With Conditional Formatting
Effective communication of status is vital in decision-making processes.
Knowing if things are very bad, okay, good, or great helps inform decisions such as hiring, firing, or promoting. This is where conditional formatting comes into play. It allows you to visually emphasize data based on specific criteria, making it more appealing and informative.
Using Conditional Formatting in Scorecards
Conditional formatting can be applied to scorecards to change the background color of a number based on a set of rules. For example, you could establish rules for different thresholds:
- Less than 2,000: Light red background
- Greater than 20,000: Red background
- Greater than 30,000: Green background
Remember, the order of the rules matters: the bottom-most rule overwrites the rules at the top. Be cautious in your setup!
Applying Conditional Formatting to Tables
Tables also benefit from conditional formatting, allowing you to mix and match criteria for specific rules. The resulting formatting can be applied to entire rows or different cells within the table. When using conditional formatting in tables, consider who will be reading the table and what they're looking for. Highlight relevant cells to make scanning large tables with many rows more efficient.
Conditional Formatting Limitations and Accessibility
While conditional formatting is useful, it has its limitations. For example, low contrast between background shades and numbers can make it difficult to read. Additionally, colorblind individuals may have trouble interpreting the colors used to communicate information. Be mindful of these limitations and seek ways to make your visualizations accessible to everyone.
Conditional formatting is a powerful tool for communicating status and highlighting relevant data in tables and charts. When applied effectively, it creates more compelling, accessible, and informative visualizations.