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Submitted by dtadege on Thu, 02/18/2021 - 16:57

Data Visualization

Data visualization allows you to present your data in a graphical or pictorial format. Visualizations are intended to capture your visitors attention and help them comprehend information quickly.

Usage, Best Practice, and Accessibility


Area chart

Bar chart

Column chart

Donut chart

Line chart

Scatter chart

Pie chart

Spline chart

3D Chart


There are two ways to add data visualization to your site. For plotting existing internal or external data, please use the “Views” option. For plotting data at the time of entry, please use the “Blocks” option. To set up data visualization, follow the steps below.

1. Views Option:

  • Enable the Folwell Data Visualization module by going to the Extend page. This will enable the Charts, Highcharts and Charts Block modules.
    data visualization module
  • Create a new content type that has fields to hold numeric data for the graphs. You could also add numeric fields to the existing content type.
  • In your content type, make sure to have at least one field that holds numeric data for your data visualization.
  • Create a View (Admin >> Structure >> Views).
  • Under the “View settings” section, choose the content type that holds the graph data.
    views settings screenshot
  • Under the “Page settings” section, fill out the “Page title” and “Path”.
    page settings screenshot
  • Under the “Page display settings” set display format to “Chart” of “fields”.
    display settings screenshot
  • Check the “Create a block” checkbox if you wish to create a block for this view.
  • Click the “Save and Edit” button.
  • On the next screen, navigate to the “Fields” section and add at least one numeric field from the content type created on the step 2 above.
    add fields screenshot
  • Under the “Format” section, click the “Settings” link next to the “Chart” link.
    display format screenshot
  • On the next screen, do the following configuration
    • Choose the chart type you want under the “Chart type” section.
      chart type screenshot
    • Under the “Charting library” dropdown, select “Highcharts”.
      charting library dropdown menu
    • Under the “Charts fields” section, choose at least one numeric field.
      chart fields screenshot
    • Add the “Chart title” under the “Display” section.
    • Optionally, you could adjust the following settings as per your needs.
      • Title position
      • Tooltips
      • Data labels
      • Data markers
      • Legend positions
      • Background color
      • Make chart three-dimensional (3D)
      • Transform cartesian charts into the polar coordinate system
      • Horizontal axis
      • Vertical axis
        Display option screenshot
      • Click "Apply" button
    • Your chart will be displayed in the preview.

2. Block Option

You can add data visualization in layout builder using an inline block.

  • Go to your node and click the “Layout” button.
  • Click the “Add block” link on the layout section where you want to place the data visuzaulation. 
  • Under “Choose a block”, locate the Charts blocks section and click “Charts block”.
    choose a block screenshot
  • On the next screen, do the following configuration:
    • Choose the chart type under the “Chart type” section.
      chart type screenshot
  • Under the “Charting library” dropdown, select “Highcharts”.
    charting library dropdown menu
  • Under the “Data (single series)”, enter the data for your chart separated by comma.
    data entry box
  • Under the “Series label (single series)”, provide a label for your legend. 
  • Click on the field under “Color (single series)” to choose color for your chart. Here are lists of colors we recommend. 
    • Light maroon #900021
    • Dark gold #ffb71e
    • Blue #00759a
    • Light gray #d5d6d2
    • Dark maroon #5b0013
    • Green #58a618
    • Dark gray #5a5a5a
    • Orange #e37222
    • Light gold #ffde7a
    • Darker gray #333333
      block picker field
  • Under the “Categories”, provide the categories. You should have as many as you have points of data in a series. They should be comma-separated. 
    category data entry field
  • Add the “Chart title” under the “Display” section.
  • Optionally, you could adjust the following settings as per your needs.
    • Title position
    • Tooltips
    • Data labels
    • Data markers
    • Legend positions
    • Background color
    • Make chart three-dimensional (3D)
    • Transform cartesian charts into the polar coordinate system 
    • Horizontal axis
    • Vertical axis
      Display option screenshot
  • Click “Add block” button
  • Your data visualization will be displayed on your layout section.

Best Practice

  • Choose the right visualization for your data:
    • Area chart functions the same way as a line chart only it fills the area between the line and the threshold, which is 0 by default.
    • Bar chart is exactly the same as a column chart; only the x-axis and y-axis are switched.
    • Column charts display data as vertical bars. A feature of column charts allows for different data to be compared alongside one another. It is similar to bar charts, the difference being that bar charts have a horizontal representation of the data.
    • Donut chart is functionally identical to a pie chart, with the exception of a blank center and the ability to support multiple statistics at once. It provides a better data intensity ratio to standard pie charts since the blank center can be used to display additional, related data.
    • Line chart is represented by a series of data points connected with a straight line. Line charts are most often used to visualize data that changes over time.
    • Pie chart divides your data into distinct sections that represent a proportion of the whole.
    • Scatter chart draws a single point for each point of data in a series without connecting them.
    • Spline chart draws a curved line between the points in a data series.
  • Avoid creating data visualizations that require interaction in order to get your message across
  • Label data points instead of referring to a legend
  • In 3D charts, the volume of an object increases at a faster rate than its area. It's recommended to minimize the use of 3D charts when the default 2D charts covey the needed information. 


  • All data visualizations include proper ARIA labels by default.
  • It is keyboard navigable.
  • It provides the option to display data visualization as data table.
  • Directly label visualizations for quick comprehension.
  • Ensure the text and color passes the accessibility color contrast test.
  • Avoid relying on color as your only visual cue.
  • Give context to each data visualization with a brief summary of your data results.