I’m keen for young people that Solent Youth Action works with to have access to information about how the charity runs. I’d like for us to be as transparent as possible, and as a geek, one of the ways that I am working on this is by putting more stuff on our website.
We put our Financial Statements online so that people could see where we get our money from, and how we spend it. But it’s a dry document – a twenty-two page PDF of numbers and accounting blurb.
While it is important for this information to be available, it’s not easily accessible to many like this. Tonight I had a play with presenting it as animated online graphs using the awesome Open Flash Chart.
The Open Flash Chart site has very clear tutorials and a ton of examples, so I wont waste time here by going into detail explaining how to use it.
But it’s worth highlighting just how simple it is – drop the swf file into a directory on your webserver, then point it at a JSON file with your data (either by URL, or by reference in your HTML). That’s pretty much it.
The most complicated bit was copying figures out of the Financial Statements document and pasting it into a JSON text file. Even this was fairly quick.
Flash graphs are not as accessible as something like Google Chart images because they require Flash to be installed. However, I hope the visual flair they add makes up for this, and will help grab the attention of our volunteers.
I created a couple of quick charts to show our income and expenditure, but there are many more examples of how to use it here and here.