Coact is a great reporting tool but does need some finesse to use well. We’ve put together seven top tips to help you get started creating easy to understand reports.
Automatically updating reports
One great thing about Coact reports is the fact that, since they are connected directly to data sources, they constantly update as new data comes in. This means that your reports no longer need to be presented as static data. This prevent
s you having to build them every month and can instead send an online link that constantly updates with new information allowing you to pretty much set it and forget it.
Different ways to display data
Data in Coact can be presented in four different ways that each fit specific purposes:
- Simple numbers showing an increase or decrease compared to the previous date range.
- Tables that show the value of different metrics.
- Graphs that visually display data over time.
- Pie charts that display the breakdown of different shares of a data set
Knowing when to use each of these methods can make your reports a lot easier to understand and also a lot more impactful.
PDF Page Breaks
This one isn’t as obvious but it’s still incredibly important. When exporting reports to PDFs from Coact you have to make sure your page breaks are in the correct place and aren’t ruining your layout. You can tell where the PDF page break is going to be by a small arrow on the left hand side of the page.
Along the top of your reports you can see the tabs menu. Using this allows you to separate different sections of your data into totally different pages. This is useful if you want to make your reports more organised and easier to read, since all data of one kind can be found in the same place.
We use this to separate traffic and SEO data into their own tabs which means everyone can find what they are looking for.
Don’t get too technical
As the one making the report, chances are you have a decent knowledge of what each and every metric means. However it’s likely the client you’re sending the report to doesn’t have this same level of knowledge so you need to be careful not to get too technical.
One good thing to include to keep things simple are a lot of visual graphs. Everyone understands graphs going upwards – generally – means growth and increases over time so including a lot of these will go a long way towards making your reports nice and easy to understand.
Another great thing to do is add a text box underneath all of your data to explain what it means. This works better on PDF exports since your explanation will match the data at the time you write it and may not make as much sense in a month once more data comes through.
Sometimes SEO and technical data can be a bit tricky to understand so adding both of these will make your reports much easier to read and understand for a client who may not be as well versed as you are.
Remove useless or irrelevant information
A lot of tables you pull from your data sources come with far too many metrics which can make them very difficult to read and require a lot of scrolling. For some people, the more data the better and for others it’s important to get to the point as quickly as possible with excess data just not relevant. Removing a lot of these pieces of data will focus your reports and make them much easier to understand.
7. Scale your blocks appropriately
In Coact you can change the size of every block you drop into your reports meaning every single piece of content is completely customisable. While it’s always good to fill the page and be large enough to read, it’s important not to make them too large so they look spread out.
If your table only has a couple of columns then keep the size small to avoid this. If you have columns that fill the whole page then by all means stretch them the whole way out.
With these tips you’ll be able to create better reports that are easier to understand and also easier to create. Coact is a great tool we’ve been enjoying and we think that more people should be making use of it in the industry.