I am working on a product that outputs data visualizations based of the responses people give on a survey. Users are then able to filter this output in many different ways (ie: date) This data can then be compared and ranked to find insights. Recently, the methodology in how some questions are asked on the survey has changed (to improve them) and more attributes have been added. I have been told that these new attributes and any data using a different methodology on the survey can't be displayed together with the older survey data. This is really putting a cramp in things as the whole point of the product is having easy visual representations of these responses that users can then compare.

Now it is either users can basically view and filter on older survey data mixed with new survey data (but only data that has the same methodology as the old survey or existed on the old survey). or they can view new data in its entirely with all new attributes (but they won't see any older survey data mixed in). So it is basically saying users can see [2016 data only, 2016 data mixed with SOME 2017- data], or ALL 2017 data.

I am having a hard time representing this to users in an easy way. It is also hard because really I wouldn't like to put this kind of limitations on the data, yet am sort of having to emphasize it anyway.

The solution I have come up with for now is to add a toggle of sorts. The toggle will be defaulted in the "off" position which is the mixed data [2016 data only, 2016 data mixed with SOME 2017- data]. Users can then switch the toggle on to see the [ALL 2017-] data. In a way, it is just a quick and overarching date setting. On the images I've included, 1 is the basic idea of the interface with two groups at the top that can be interacted with to populate/edit them, and the corresponding visualizations below. #2 is showing my idea of putting some sort of toggle near these groups.

I would love some feedback on this, any suggestions, or anything similar you have encountered.


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2 Answers 2


Be explicit and have users select from the data sets you've outlined in your question.

If users aren't sure of the methodology you're using, they may not trust the integrity of the data. Give them an info tip or popover and ideally a fuller explanation of the differences should they want one.

A toggle represents a state change between 2 states, but it sounds like you have 3 data sets (do I have this right?):

  • 2016 data
  • 2016 data mixed w/ some 2017
  • 2017 data

The toggle doesn't account for all three, and might be hard to notice. It also doesn't tell me what 'new' data means, and if you update again, then there's potentially more sets to choose from.

Have a selection control that states the name of the set. Provide a way for explaining the differences.


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In your solution, you're restricting users on a specific toggle. Think, just after few years, you will have huge amount of data and year range. Toggle feature will definitely not work for huge range.

I purpose:

-Let the user selects the year (data set) he wants to see (user has more control)

-Fetch the data on the basis of selection but allow him to change the set any time. (user has more control)

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