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One step to make your reports more user-friendly

by Mike Steedle, on Feb 5, 2009 11:36:11 PM




The bottom line. On operational reports, this is often the first place the end user looks.  Why, then, is the bottom line often buried beneath pages of granular detail?  Similarly, looking at row-level totals requires one to scan the entire width of the page to travel from the descriptor to the total amount.

Totals 1

To address the issue, going against the norm, the Total column on the right should be shifted left to the space immediately before the row descriptors (in the screenshot, product descriptions) and the Total row at the bottom of the report should be shifted up to the space immediately below the column descriptors (in the screenshot, month names), placing the fully aggregated amounts adjacent to the labels they represent.  See below for the result.

Totals 2

When we drill down into data, we start at the highest level, then investigate the detailed data that contributes to it.  Organizing report data in a way that is conducive to that style of interrogation requires only the simple change of moving the bottom line to the top line.

Topics:Business IntelligenceReporting

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