How to Navigate Your Community Needs Assessment

Learn step by step how to navigate and understand your Community Needs Assessment. This tutorial will focus on report features available to all SparkMap Subscribers. If you want to explore features available to Premium Subscribers, check out our tutorial How to Explore Your Premium Community Needs Assessment.

Navigating Your Report

Introductions & Data Tables

Data Visualizations & Benchmarks

Report Options

Step 1 – Navigating Your Report

Navigate between indicators in your report using the round menu button at the bottom right corner of the page (Figure 1).

Click the button to open the indicator menu. Then, to close the indicator menu, click the round button with the “x” icon (Figure 2).

When the indicator menu is open, a clickable list of indicators will appear. Click the name of an indicator to jump to its section on your report.

Note: Clicking the “Back” button on your browser will exit the completed assessment and send you back to the previous step.

Figure 1 – Community Needs Assessment menu button
Figure 2 – Use the round button to open and close the indicator menu

Step 2 – Introductions and Data Tables

Each indicator section begins with a dynamic introduction paragraph. These introductory texts provide concise summaries of the indicator as it relates to your selected location (Figure 3).

Data provided in the introductory sentences are also displayed in the subsequent tables, maps, and charts.  

Data tables display information for your selected location (first row) and also include rows for state and national benchmarks (Figure 4).

Note: Data source, release date, and geography information are available below each data table.

Figure 3 – Introductory sentences are included for each indicator
Figure 4- Tables show data for your selected location

Want to access indicator data for ZIP codes and custom areas? Check out our Premium Subscription.

Step 3 – Data Visualizations and Benchmarks

There are several types of visualizations in your completed report. First, inset maps are available for most indicators. Inset maps provide a quick geographic view of the data and will display your selected location. Click the “View larger map” link to view and interact with the data in the Map Room (Figure 5).

Note: Maps display data at the smallest geography available (e.g. – census tract, school district, or point level) while data tables display data at the county level.

Next, many indicators also include data dials. Dials are a quick way to visualize how your selected location compares to state and national averages, or benchmarks.

The dial appears red if your selected location is performing worse than state and/or national averages. The dial will show green if your selected location is performing the same or better than state and/or national averages (Figure 6).

Charts and graphs are also commonly included. Hover over the charts and graphs to display associated data values (Figure 7).

Bar charts include state and national averages for easy comparison. State and/or national averages can be toggled on and off by clicking the geography name (e.g. Alabama and United States) at the bottom of the chart (Figure 8).

Line graphs show trends over time, where available. Hover over the line graph to display associated data values. Click the geography names to toggle state and national averages on and off.

Finally, pie and donut charts display indicator data and breakout information. Click a portion of a pie or donut chart to highlight the section (Figure 9).

Figure 5 – Click the “View larger map” button to open the Map Room
Figure 6 – A red dial showing the selected location performing worse than state and national averages alongside a green dial showing the selected location performing better than the state average
Assessment report bar chart visual
Figure 7 – Data values display as you hover over the bar chart
Figure 8 – Bar chart with United States data removed
Figure 9 – Donut chart with “Age 18-24” highlighted

Step 4 – Report Options

Customize your report using the “Report Options” button (Figure 10).

Add or remove state averages/benchmarks by clicking the checkbox next to “Show state data.”

Add or remove breakout data by clicking the checkbox next to “Show supplemental data.”

Add or remove inset maps by clicking the checkbox next to “Show maps.”

Get a “Quick Facts” report but clicking the radio button next to “Quick facts” (Figure 11).

Generate a source and methodology appendix by clicking the radio button next to “Source & methodology.”

Figure 10 – “Report Options” button and menu
Figure 11- Example Quick Facts report