What to call 'Totals' header ...

21 Apr 2008 - 3:24pm
6 years ago
3 replies
361 reads
Brandon E.B. Ward
2008

I've got a datagrid (oh the humanity!) with lots of columns and rows. In some of the columns are cumulative numbers (e.g. 124 foos, 203 bars etc.) and in some columns are averages (1.5 avg. foo per bar, 30 avg. bar per foo etc.)

Below the datagrid is a row matching columns to the grid above with the sum total of each totals column and the average of each of the average columns.

The row below the datagrid is currently called Totals - but it's not very accurate, as an average of averages is not a total.

What title would you suggest over Totals?

Is there a word that says Totals/Averages/Other? Or is Totals/Averages my best bet?

Thanks,

B

Comments

21 Apr 2008 - 5:29pm
Will Parker
2007

On Apr 21, 2008, at 1:24 PM, Brandon E.B. Ward wrote:

> The row below the datagrid is currently called Totals - but it's not
> very accurate, as an average of averages is not a total.

Before you get to the label, question both the validity and the actual
utility of any data that include 'averages of averages'; that phrase
carries a faint aroma of spreadsheet abuse. (Well, maybe not so faint.)

Ask what is intended to be expressed in that row, ask for a plain-
English description of how the cumulative average is being calculated,
and then quietly ask _someone other than the person who wrote the
averaging code_ if their math and their assumptions make any sense
whatsoever.

Once you've done the sniff test for BS-based math, you should have an
accurate picture of what that part of the data actually means to the
people who will use it, and your human-readable label for the row
should be fairly self-evident.

> What title would you suggest over Totals?
>
> Is there a word that says Totals/Averages/Other? Or is Totals/
> Averages my best bet?

There's really not enough detail in your description to tell.

The best bet is to use the term that will make the most sense to the
intended audience in the context the data will be used. If that
happens to be 'Slurms/Quatloo' for the given audience, so be it -- but
it's up to you to understand what you're displaying, so you can
present it in a meaningful manner.

-Will

Will Parker
wparker at channelingdesign.com

22 Apr 2008 - 8:23pm
Mark Young
2008

For what its worth, sports statistics often mix cumulative counts and
averages in a row labeled "Totals". For example:
http://mlb.mlb.com/stats/individual_stats_player.jsp?c_id=mlb&playerID=120903&statType=1

As Will warned above, avoid averages of averages - replace them with
simple averages. If you have the counts of the measures that were
averaged, you can derive the "total" average.

-Mark

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23 Apr 2008 - 6:54pm
Steve Baty
2009

Brandon,

Technically, these are called 'Summary Statistics'. Perhaps 'Summary Data:
totals & averages'

Steve

2008/4/22 Brandon E.B. Ward <brandon at pluggd.com>:

> I've got a datagrid (oh the humanity!) with lots of columns and rows. In
> some of the columns are cumulative numbers (e.g. 124 foos, 203 bars etc.)
> and in some columns are averages (1.5 avg. foo per bar, 30 avg. bar per foo
> etc.)
>
> Below the datagrid is a row matching columns to the grid above with the
> sum total of each totals column and the average of each of the average
> columns.
>
> The row below the datagrid is currently called Totals - but it's not very
> accurate, as an average of averages is not a total.
>
> What title would you suggest over Totals?
>
> Is there a word that says Totals/Averages/Other? Or is Totals/Averages my
> best bet?
>
> Thanks,
>
> B
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--
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