Heat Map Explorer Getting Started Guide

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1 You have made a smart decision in choosing Lab Escape s Heat Map Explorer. Over the next 30 minutes this guide will show you how to analyze your data visually. Your investment in learning to leverage heat maps will increase your understanding of your data, help you communicate that understanding to your colleagues, and provide you with the knowledge to make better decisions. There are four sections, each of which builds on the previous section. Each section will take 5-10 minutes to complete. While not a step-by-step tutorial, to gain the most from this guide we recommend you print a copy and walk through the examples with us. 1. Organize Your Data Heat Map Explorer imports data from spreadsheets, text files and databases. This guide will demonstrate importing data from a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet containing sales data for a telecommunications company. Similar steps apply when importing from other data sources. To begin, open the file called Getting Started Tutorial.xls in Microsoft Excel (located by default in C:\Program Files\Heat Map Explorer\samples ). The sample data set contains 76 rows summarizing sales activity for 2004 and 2005 across several business lines and product types. Even with this small amount of data, you will see how heat maps expand your understanding of business data. To import from Microsoft Excel, your data must exist in a single table consisting of a header row and one or more data rows (see Figure 1). The header row defines the labels that Heat Map Explorer uses to identify the data in each column, while each data row represents a single record of data. Figure 1: Sample Excel Spreadsheet Heat Map Explorer uses the layout of your Excel spreadsheet to construct your heat map. The aspects it uses include: Column Data Each column must contain a single type of data, such as a number, percentage, or text. Invalid, not applicable and null values should use an empty cell. Cell Format The first cell in each column determines the format of all the values in that column. Modify this formatting in Microsoft Excel to change the format displayed by Heat Map Explorer. Column Order The order of the columns in your spreadsheet determines the order of fields displayed on the information panel, filters on the filters tab and items displayed in selection boxes. Copyright 2006 by Lab Escape, Inc. Page 1 of 7

2 2. Import Your Data With your data in the correct format, you can quickly import your data into Heat Map Explorer using the New Heat Map Wizard. To access this wizard, do one of the following: Click Create a New Heat Map on the Welcome Screen. Select File > New from the application menu. Press the New Heat Map button on the toolbar. Importing data from Excel is a quick three-step process: 1. Browse to select the Excel file containing your data. 2. Specify the worksheet and cell ranges to import your data from. 3. Adjust the initial settings for generating the heat map. For this tutorial, select Getting Started Tutorial.xls as the file to import (located by default in C:\Program Files\Heat Map Explorer\samples ) and accept the defaults for the rest of the wizard by pressing Next. Press Finish at the end of the wizard to create the heat map. i Note: Heat Map Explorer defaults to importing data from the first worksheet and assuming the column headers exist within the data range. It then analyzes your data and makes recommendations for the initial mappings of columns to color, size and groupings. You can change these settings later on the Data and Groups tabs. 3. Visualize Your Data Learning to visually analyze your data using a heat map involves two steps. First, we ll give you a visual language that associates data from your spreadsheet with what you are seeing on the heat map. Then, we ll show you how to use that language to answer questions to your key problems. Developing a Visual Language Let s return to our example spreadsheet and compare it to a heat map of the same data: Size: 2004 Sales Color: % Change Each row corresponds to a single rectangle, or cell, on the heat map. A cell s size visually represents the number within the Size column of that cell s row. Larger cells have greater values in their size column than smaller cells. Likewise, a cell s color visually represents the value of its Color column. In this example, the brighter the cell, the bigger the change that occurred from the previous year. Copyright 2006 by Lab Escape, Inc. Page 2 of 7

3 Cells are organized into groups based on the values contained in one or more grouping columns (see the figure below). Whenever multiple rows contain the same value for a grouping column, the cells representing those rows are placed in the same group on the heat map. Using multiple grouping columns, groups can be divided into subgroups, creating a nested hierarchy of cells. i Group By: Customer Type Note: Groups visually segment your data, but they also summarize that data. When you hover your mouse over a group, the information panel shows each of the columns in your spreadsheet, but with each numeric data column displaying the sum of all the values for cells within that group. Recognizing Patterns The power of visual analysis flows from our brain s ability to rapidly process visual information and recognize patterns that remain hidden on traditional spreadsheets. Now that you have a basic visual language, we will explore the visual patterns you should look for on a heat map. Odd Colors Represent Exceptions A cell whose color differs strongly from its neighbors indicates an exceptional data value. Exceptions visually stand out as the odd cell of a group and usually represent problems or opportunities. Exceptions often remain hidden in spreadsheets because their value exists within the normal range of values for that column it is only when viewed within a segmented group that the value stands out. To the left, the red cell shows sales for Basic Dial-Up dropped dramatically from Similar Colors Represent Trends Cells clustered together with similar colors indicate a trend, with the strength and hue of the colors indicating the magnitude and direction of the trend. On the heat map to the right, we ve zoomed into Small Business, then Internet Services. The overall red color of the Dedicated group reveals that businesses are moving away from Dedicated services. Because the green color of the DSL group indicates a strong uptake of DSL, we can infer that businesses are dropping Dedicated Services, except for T1 Services, in favor of DSL. Copyright 2006 by Lab Escape, Inc. Page 3 of 7

4 Size Differences Highlight Distributions Each group divides its area amongst its cells, similar to a pie chart dividing slices of a pie. The difference in size between the largest and smallest cells in a group visually indicates the range of values in that group. The ratio of large to small cells shows how those values are distributed. Unlike a pie chart, heat maps show this distribution at multiple levels at once. While the cells in each group show the distribution of values within that group, each group s size relative to the other groups shows the distribution of groups within the data set as a whole. This nested pie chart effect conveys sophisticated insight into the distribution of your data. In the heat map to the right, we see two products dominate most of our Internet sales to Residential customers. Small Business Internet revenue, however, comes from a larger mix of products. By comparing the size of the largest and smallest cells, we see that Small Business Internet customers use more low-volume niche products than Residential customers. Looking at the bigger picture, we see that revenues overall were evenly distributed between Residential and Small Business customers. For Residential customers, the bulk of sales revenue came from Local Phone and Long Distance. However, for Small Business customers, revenue was distributed almost evenly between Internet, Long Distance and Local Phone. 4. Analyze Your Data Interaction amplifies the power of visualization. Now that you can read and understand heat maps, you can start interactively exploring those heat maps to answer your existing questions and to discover new questions you didn t know needed asking. In this section, we ll lay out a process for visually uncovering the secrets hidden in your data. Frame Your Question Think about the role each column of your data plays in answering your questions and choose the visual attributes that best reflect that role. Use the Size and Color drop-downs on the Data tab in the lower-left corner to change your mappings. Figure 2 shows recommendations for mapping columns with specific roles to visual attributes. Size Color Groups importance weight relevancy urgency progress relative change categories segments groups When deciding whether to use color or size, consider how cells visually aggregate when placed within a group. Size aggregates into a sum of the individual cells within that group, while color tends toward Copyright 2006 by Lab Escape, Inc. Page 4 of 7

5 an average. Therefore, to explore totals, use the size attribute, and use color to highlight averages, or deviations from an average. Similarly, size exhibits a larger range of values than color, so use it when you need to see distributions clearly. For example, to focus your sales force you need to look for customer buying patterns and how they relate to company revenue. Revenue gained from each product determines its importance to the sales force, so we map size to 2004 Sales. Likewise, % Change signals changes in buying patterns. To see average changes within product groups rather than the total change, and to distinguish quickly between positive and negative values, we map % Change to color. The result is the heat map to the right. Large red cells, like Domestic Ultra Long Distance, indicate products that contributed the most to our revenues, but which lost the most as a percentage of those revenues. Large green cells, like Domestic Unlimited Long Distance, highlight products that are growing rapidly. Groups dominated by red cells, like Small Business Internet, point to a downward trend. The size of those cells shows the overall percentage of revenue that derives from those products. Change Your Perspective Groups can illuminate, or extinguish, insights into your data. Choose the wrong group and you ll be staring at a collision of random colors. Choose the right group and critical information will jump right out at you. Use the Group By and Then By drop-downs on the Groups tab in the lower-left corner to change your groupings. Make sure to try different combinations, including swapping your primary and secondary group columns to see your data inside out. Size: 2004 Sales Color: % Change Group By: Business Line, Product Type For example, below are two heat maps. The left one groups first by Business Line, then by Customer Type. On this heat map, red cells indicating products that lost money are scattered with no discernable trends. However, switching the second group to Product Type shows a block of red, highlighting the downward trend for Internet Dedicated services and a block of green, showing the upward trend for DSL. Group By: Business Line, Customer Type Group By: Business Line, Product Type Copyright 2006 by Lab Escape, Inc. Page 5 of 7

6 Narrow Your Focus Subsets of your data can sometimes prove more interesting than the whole picture. Use filters, search and drill down to isolate parts of your data for detailed analysis. Drill Down. If you see a group on your heat map that merits investigation, right-click and select Drill Down to focus in on the details of that group. The heat map zooms into the group you selected, enabling you to see smaller cells and better notice size differences. To return, right-click and select Drill Up from the context menu, or click one of the buttons on the navigation bar above the heat map. Search. To find cells that match a given set of criteria, use filters or the search box. The search box, located above the heat map, searches on all text fields in the heat map. Use Google-like search queries to search for parts of words or phrases. For instance, searching for plus returns all the cells that contain text with the letters p-l-u-s, in that order. In our example heat map, this finds all the premium products, such as Local Plus. Searching for local plus returns all products with plus or local, including those in the Local Phone group. Searching for "local plus" returns only those cells that contain the phrase local plus. Filter. Filtering allows you to hide cells that don t meet a given numeric criteria, or don t fit within a category. Access the filters from the Filters tab in the lower-left corner. There are two types of filters: list filters, used for text fields, and slider filters, used for numeric fields. To use a list filter, select one or more items by clicking on the ones you want. This activates the filter, hiding any cells that do not contain one of the selected items for the field being filtered. Selecting (All) turns off the filter. To use a slider filter, slide the left or right knob. Only cells with values within the range selected will be shown. When active, the track of a slider filter turns from gray to blue. When using multiple filters, a cell must meet the criteria of all your active filters to be displayed. In the heat map on the left, the % Change filter shows only those products whose revenue declined between 2004 and By moving the right slider until it s at 0%, only those cells whose % Change value is between -24.6% and 0.0% are shown. Selecting Internet from Business Line would narrow our focus further. Copyright 2006 by Lab Escape, Inc. Page 6 of 7

7 Share Your Insights Communication is an integral part of analysis. Whether you need to justify, influence or discuss a decision, Heat Map Explorer provides an insightful way of presenting and communicating your data to your colleagues. Features that have been added to Heat Map Explorer to facilitate this collaboration include: Copy Print Export . You can interactive heat maps or selected data to others for review. To a heat map, use File > Heat Map to open an with an.hme file of your current view attached. To selected data, first select the cells by clicking them while holding down the Control key. Then use File > Selection to open an with the selected data. All features of Heat Map Explorer use your default client to send s. Copy. You can copy selected data, or an image of the current heat map, to include in other documents such as Microsoft Word or PowerPoint reports. To copy the selected data, first select the cells by clicking on them while holding down the Control key. Then use Edit > Copy Selection to copy the data rows of the selected cells as a tab-delimited table. You can now paste this selection back into Excel or Word. To include an image, use Edit > Copy As Image and then paste this image directly into another document. Print. Similar to copying, you can print either selected data or an image of the current heat map. Select cells by clicking on them while holding down the Control key, and then use File > Print Selection to print one or more information panels displaying the information for the selected cells. Use File > Print Heat Map to print an image of the heat map. Use File > Properties to change the title displayed at the top when printing a heat map, and use File > Page Setup to change the margins and page orientation. Export. Instead of printing, you can export an image of the current heat map to an Adobe Acrobat PDF file. Use File > Export to PDF to export the image. Exporting to PDF uses the same settings as printing, so use File > Properties to change the title at the top and File > Page Setup to change the margins and page orientation. Summary Thank you for taking the time to learn more about using Heat Map Explorer to amplify your ability to understand data in your spreadsheets and databases. In this guide you have learned how to format your Excel data, how to import that data, how to read a heat map, and how to perform visual analysis to gain insight into your data. If you have any questions about Heat Map Explorer, please us at To purchase, visit our online store at or call us at (800) option 1. Copyright 2006 by Lab Escape, Inc. Page 7 of 7

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