I’m doing some form of data visualization learning for 180 days straight because I need to #JFDI. See post explaining how and why I’m doing this.
Work from yesterday:
- Choose metrics that matter
- Limit to ones that contribute objectives
- Keep it visual
- The human brain processes numbers and images as discrete “chunks” of information. As a result, reports and tables filled with numbers are difficult and time consuming to process. However, a single chart or graph can be comprehended almost immediately.
- Dashboards that include bar graphs, line graphs, heat maps, and scatterplots are popular and impactful because they are clear and people know how to read them. So while it’s tempting to show off your depth of charting skills, keep it simple on dashboards that will be used by many.
- Make it interactive
- Interactive dashboards enable your audience to perform basic analytical tasks, such as filtering views, adjusting parameters, and drilling down to examine underlying data – all with intuitive selections on the dashboard. Providing this interactivity equips your viewers to go from the big picture to insight about how they can use the data to make better decisions in a matter of 1-2 clicks.
- Keep it current or don’t bother
- Make access easy
- Make it easy for people to select a link and go right to the dashboard – whether they’re at their desk or with mobile devices. Alternatives include posting files on websites, Wiki’s, or blogs. File-based distribution will present data synchronization issues (i.e., people reading old versions) and security may be more cumbersome, but at least you can develop good habits about the importance of dashboards and collaboration.
7 Mistakes to Avoid
- Starting off with too much complexity
- Using metrics no one understands
- Cluttering the dashboard with low-value graphics and unintelligible widgets
- Waiting for complex technology and big business intelligence deployment projects
- Underestimating the need to maintain the dashboard
- Failing to match metrics to the goal
- Using ineffective, poorly designed graphs and charts
Be ready for it to be an iterative process and chose simplicity over flash, it won’t be one and done.
- Don’t try to put absolutely everything into a single, monolithic workbook.
- If it isn’t fast in Tableau Desktop, it won’t be fast in Tableau Server.
- The final result delivered by Tableau Server is an interactive application that allows users to explore the data rather than just viewing it. So to create an efficient Tableau dashboard, you need to stop thinking as if you were developing a static report.