Designing for Engagement – Interactive charts key to Turner & Townsend inaugural digital report

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‘With a chart, clients instantly see the highs and the lows and the differences in the data’

Turner & Townsend is a global professional services company specialising in programme management, project management, cost and commercial management and advisory services across the real estate, instructure and natural resource sectors. The company is at the forefront of driving industry transformation, a focus that is also reflected in the digital format of its reports. Interactive and accessible content can be tailored to adapt to reading habits, increasing client engagement. ‘It’s very impactful,’ says Chris Bicker, Graphic Design Manager at Turner & Townsend.

For the first time in its 10-year history, the International Construction Market Survey from Turner & Townsend was published in a digital-only format. The report, which details global construction costs in a unique digital layout, features written analysis and everviz charts.


A customised viewing experience

The report features research from a pool of cost managers in 90 different markets around the world. The data is collated by Turner & Townsend economists who analyse industry trends, including inflation, labour shortages and supply chain disruptions. 

The raw data is then sent to Chris, often with a recommendation on which chart would best visualise the data. 

“Economists love bar charts but we do not want to bore our clients, the readers of the report, with bar chart after bar chart,” says Chris, an expert everviz chartmaker. 

“We want to take full advantage of the visualisation power inside everviz. Using bubble charts and maps was key. With bubble charts, the interactivity is engaging for our clients. You can view the data in a colourful and fun way. Interactivity is really important to us. We want users to be able to turn a data series on and off to customise their chart-viewing experience. With everviz charts that is possible.”




 

The packed bubble chart. Clicking items in the legend shows or hides data – key functionality for Chris.

Keeping clients engaged with the content is a key focus, and including interactive charts in the report is part of this effort. Readers are often only interested in data related to their part of the world or focus area. 

Readers can filter charts to show or disable series by clicking the legend. Or they can zoom into maps to see regional data more clearly. 

“Chart animations and interactivity keeps the clients engaged,” says Stephanie Sabey, Associate Director of global marketing communications at Turner & Townsend. 

“It also gives clients the ability to further refine what they are looking for. Interactive options, for example tooltips, keeps end users focused on the information they are there to collect. It’s very impactful. You don’t have to read paragraphs of text to glean meaning. Clients can drill down into the data and find what they need. With a chart, you instantly see the highs and the lows and the differences in the data.”

Creating the publication was a dynamic process. Chris receives datasets from economists, who would later on request an amendment. everviz supports a number of data upload workflows, including connecting a chart to a live data source. For the team, incorporating the changes was a simple task of re-opening the chart and editing the data. 

“The beauty of everviz is that if the data is changing, the charts are not fixed,” Stephanie says.

“We can easily access the chart again and add a new series and data points and the chart automatically updates.”




 

The point map with custom markers showing market outlooks in the UK.

The charts are carefully designed to support clients throughout their journey in the document. They feature corporate branding, and their look and feel is informed by design standards laid out by ONS, the UK’s national statistical institute.  

As a result, all charts feature the same design for elements such as font type, axis location, grid line usage and accessibility options . In everviz, design templates are created that can be applied to any future charts. Creating templates was one of Chris’ first tasks as a new everviz user. 

“From the offset, I was very impressed with everviz. As a new user, I spent time exploring the basic chart customization features. Then I moved on to the more advanced features. I was testing features and had good support from the everviz team. Soon after, we were able to tailor the charts to exactly how we wanted them.”




 

A treemap chart with a tooltip interactive feature appearing on mousing over the Europe block. Tooltips focus readers attention on information they care about, Stephanie says.

Reader habits, illuminated by will continue to inform the content strategy at Turner & Townsend. Interactive and accessible charts will remain a key part of helping retain reader attention. In future, charts will be tailored for viewing on the platforms where users read the reports most (desktop is preferred). And they will continue to visualise the data with as many different charts as possible. 

“everviz has so much to offer in terms of variety of chart types. This is just the start of the journey,” Chris says.


A true partner

For Turner & Townsend, the future is digital following the success of the maiden digital version of the report. Data was assembled and written over five months, and Chris’ work laying out and designing the report spanned several months. 

“everviz was consulted along the way.  We felt that everviz was extremely responsive to our needs. They felt like a true partner on this project. This is the first time we have carried out a project like this, so we needed support along the way. everviz was there to help,” says Stephanie. 

“The valuable analytics data we gain with the digital format allows us to engage readers even more. This is just not possible with PDFs. For us the future is digital. It’s ‘no looking back from here,’ and everviz is a strong partner going forward.”

Read more about everviz’s accessibility features in this blog post.


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