I often describe heatmaps as a good means for getting an initial view of your data. They can help you start to explore and understand where there might be something interesting to highlight or dig into. But once you’ve identified the noteworthy aspects of your data, should you use heatmaps to communicate them?
As often is the case, it depends.
If you are communicating to an audience who likes to see data in tables—applying heatmap formatting can provide a visual sense of the numbers without fully changing the approach (or having it feel like you’ve taken detail away). If you know your stakeholders will want to look up specific numbers (particularly in the case where different stakeholders will care about different numbers) and then understand them in the context of the broader landscape, a heatmap may also work in this scenario.
Click through for some ideas.