Numbers are the easiest way to collect important information, but are notoriously prone to sloppy interpretation, or worse. Numerical data require decoding. Which isn't a big deal when the data presented is targeted towards readers of a similar mindset. But how many people in a crowded room raise their hands when asked, "Who likes math?"
Performance data (left) for sales figures, athletics, fundraising, government statistics, public opinion, etc., across the board are most easily collected as numbers. But understanding them requires translation by the viewer. Always. And subjective interpretation is where you can loose connection. Cognizance introduces numerous ways to represent hard data within softer, more human and more predictable displays.
Area charts are a terrific way to demonstrate the significant trends or gems within rows and columns. But for revealing information while staying within the confines of a spreadsheet, you have to work a little harder. FOR INSTANCE, The traces to the right compare sequential period performance results on top, against the corresponding economic environment, below. It demonstrates in a split second how certain sales periods compared, and how the economy may have influenced them, all without having to do the math. And it fits inside a pair of spreadsheet cells.
The trick is knowing what techniques or technologies are available for clarifying data, and knowing when to use it.