Chapter 24 Screen Space

When you use CODAP to explore data, pretty soon you run out of screen space. Instead of being awash in data, you find yourself awash in graphs and text and tables.

This chapter has strategies to help you cope.

24.1 Shrink your table

We want to see all the data at once, and for some reason, we seem to think that making the table as large as possible is the way to do it. There are two things wrong with this: first, in a data science context, there’s usually way too much data to see this way; and second, looking at a table is (usually) a terrible way to see all the data. That’s why we have graphs.

So the first soution to your lack of screen space is to shrink your table.

The problem with that is that you still need to see the attribute names—the column headings—in order to drag them to graphs.

Therefore, make your tables wide but short. You probably need to see only a row or two of the data in order to remember what kind of values are in which columns.

Left: a big table. Right: a _short_ table---there's room for work!Left: a big table. Right: a _short_ table---there's room for work!

Figure 24.1: Left: a big table. Right: a short table—there’s room for work!

24.2 Case card view

If you have a lot of attributes, even if your table is wide, they might not fit on the screen. That means you’re constantly scrolling back and forth to get to the attributes you want.

You might need case card view. It’s an alternative to the table that shows you the values for one case, but oriented vertically instead of horizotally. Often, this takes up much less space than the table, and shows you more attributes.

Using the case card view: even more room for work.

Figure 24.2: Using the case card view: even more room for work.

To get case card view, click the little icon in the table’s upper left corner. Try it in the live illustration below.

Screen Space Playground

24.3 Minimizing and renaming components

In the upper right of every component—table, graph, text object, map, whatever—you’ll see an X and a big minus sign. The X lets you delete the component, of course. The minus sign lets you minimize it, that is, shrink it so only its title bar shows. Click the minus sign again to make it full size.

Try that on the components in the illustration in the previous section.

Of course, if you have a bunch of minimized things you can’t tell them apart…or can you?

Click once on the title of a component to select the title; then you can edit it to be anything you want. This can be a good practice, especially if you are preparing graphs for a presentation. You can name your graph something like “how education relates to employment” instead of “people.”

24.4 The tiles menu

Suppose you have a lot of graphs, and you can’t find the one you want. Even if you’ve given them names, it can be hard. Maybe they’re overlapping, or even scrolled off the screen.

No problem! Use the little-used Tiles menu near the upper right of the screen. It shows you a list of all of your components. Not only that, but all you have to do is hover over a title, and the component pops to the front so you can see what it is

The tiles menu shows all of your components.

Figure 24.3: The tiles menu shows all of your components.