Using charts and tables

Analysis articles

Simple charts and tables can often convey a trend in the analysis more clearly than a dense paragraph of text. Your surrounding text should add to your visuals, not just report what they show. It is not necessary to comment on every trend shown in a chart or table.

Use descriptive chart titles

Chart titles and subtitles should be concise, sentence case and in plain English. The main title should be descriptive, and tell the trend of the data or highlight the main story. Our chart title guidance provides more detailed information on how to write descriptive chart titles.

Keep your tables focused

Tables can be used to present trends in the data alongside your analysis and allow users to easily compare data. Column headings should be clear, concise and written in house style.

Avoid including too much information in your tables as this is likely to overwhelm users. Limit the number of columns to be fewer than nine as this is the maximum number of columns that we can create.

Information articles

All charts should be interactive where possible but occasionally you may need to include a diagramĀ  in an information article to help visually explain a process.

Before deciding to use a diagram, identify the user need. Consider if the user need can be met solely by clearly written text. If you have too much information to communicate, a diagram is unlikely to be useful to users. If you can describe the diagram in a short paragraph, use text instead.

Any diagrams included in your article must have a clear user need and be created by our in-house Design team. This is to make sure they are accessible and in line with our design principles. More detailed guidance on the use of diagrams is available.