UBCTUG - Best practices for powerful dashboards

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Presentation on best practices for powerful dashboards, showcasing a few Tableau features.

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  • A way of communicating important information at a glance.Dashboardinsight.comStephen Few -Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data He has over 20 years of experience as an IT innovator, consultant, and educator. As Principal of the consultancy Perceptual Edge, Stephen focuses on data visualization for analyzing and communicating quantitative business information. He provides consulting and training services, speaks frequently at conferences, and teaches in the MBA program at the University of California in Berkeley.
  • All the visualizations fit on a single computer screen (scrolling to see more violates the definition of a dashboard)Shows the most important performance indicators/measures to be monitoredData automatically gets updated without any involvement from the user. The frequency of the update will vary by the organization and by purpose. The most effective dashboards have data updated at least on a daily basisIncorporates certain level of interactivity such as filtering and drill-down, but these types of actions should not be required to see which performance indicators are under performing.
  • Displays relevant and current dataOptimized to speed the evaluation of strategic, analytical, operational needs
  • Choosing which metrics to include in the dashboard is important. Above all, they must be metrics that matter and that are relevant to the job at hand. But that doesn’t mean every metric should be include.Knowing the objective is CRITICAL.Be sure you can clearly explain how every metric on your dashboard connects to organization objectives.
  • Make sure that the data underlying your dashboard is up-to-date so that your selected metrics reflect current business challenges. File-based distribution you’ll have synchronization issues (people reading old versions) and the security of your data may be a bit more cumbersome.
  • Dan Murray – urges not to build grids or pivot table looking dashboards and use visuals instead
  • Place your most important view in the top left as this is where the human eye is naturally drawn and where your user will look first. Chained interactivity or when one view filters the next make sure you structure them top to bottom and left to right.
  • Interactive, highly visual dashboards enable your audiences to perform basic analytical tasks, such as filtering the views, drilling down and examining underlying data – all with little training. Viewers need to be able to literally get the big picture from the dashboard that everyone sees and then be able to drill down into a view that tells them what they need to know to get their jobs done. Place your filters close to that view, preferably on the right hand side (you can do this by using the layout containers).
  • Using them promotes interactionKeep in mind that when using a quick filter, a query is created and the entire data is probed so it can be expensive.So only use relevant filters and take out the ones that are not frequently used as it will improve load timeDan Murray – avoid quick filtersUse context filters instead. – the results are pre-filtered and they are proportionally faster
  • A legend will allow you to use colors to your advantage, while making sure your audience knows what they’re looking at.Place your legend close to that view. Avoid eye movements away from data view.
  • Depending on who’ll be looking at your reports, be sure they’ll know what each graph means. Consider, Jersey, Jamaica Red, Florida. These words all come from the same category, but if you didn’t know I was listing breeds of cattle you might think I was having a problem with Geography.
  • Dashboards have become popular in recent years as uniquely powerful tools for communicating important information at a glance. Although dashboards are potentially powerful, this potential is rarely realized. The greatest display technology in the world won't solve this if you fail to use effective visual design. Tableau offers the technology to make powerful dashboards.And if a dashboard fails to tell you precisely what you need to know in an instant, you'll never use it, even if it's filled with cute gauges, meters, and traffic lights. Choose metrics that matter. Keep it current or don’t botherMake it simple to access and useKeep it visual.Make it interactive
  • UBCTUG - Best practices for powerful dashboards

    1. 1. PRESENTED BY George Firican UBCTUG – UBC Tableau User Group Best practices for powerful dashboards
    2. 2. UBCTUG http://meetup.com/UBCTUG Quick presenter intro http://ca.linkedin.com/in/georgefirican https://twitter.com/georgefirican Now: • Data Quality Manager – Development & Alumni Engagement (UBC) Past: • 10+ years experience in education, software/web development and e- commerce industries • 7+ years Business/Technical Analysis & Project Management
    3. 3. UBCTUG http://meetup.com/UBCTUG Dashboard “A visual display of the most important information needed to achieve one or more objectives; consolidated and arranged on a single screen so the information can be monitored at a glance.” By Stephen Few
    4. 4. UBCTUG http://meetup.com/UBCTUG Key characteristics of a dashboard • Fits on a single computer screen • Shows the most important performance indicators/measures • Data updated without the user’s involvement • Incorporates certain level of interactivity (optional)
    5. 5. UBCTUG http://meetup.com/UBCTUG Key characteristics of a powerful dashboard 1. Objectives-focused and relevant 2. Current 3. Accessible 4. Visual and interactive Optimized to speed the evaluation of strategic, analytical, and operational objectives.
    6. 6. UBCTUG http://meetup.com/UBCTUG 1. Objective-focused and relevant • Determining the metrics to include • Know the objective • Select the metrics that your users understand • Select the truly necessary metrics
    7. 7. UBCTUG http://meetup.com/UBCTUG 2. Current • Ensure the underlying data is up-to-date • Determine what the date range of the data should be • Out-of-date data will lead to bad decisions
    8. 8. UBCTUG http://meetup.com/UBCTUG 3. Accessible • Ease of access • Web based • Multiple devices • No more than one authentication
    9. 9. UBCTUG http://meetup.com/UBCTUG 4. Visual & interactive – A photo = 1k words • Picture is worth a thousand words • Human process of comprehension and insight is faster with visualization
    10. 10. UBCTUG http://meetup.com/UBCTUG 4. Visual & interactive - Medium • Consider consumption medium • Desktop • Mobile • Static
    11. 11. UBCTUG http://meetup.com/UBCTUG 4. Visual & interactive - Views • Top-left area holds most important view • Max 4 panes • Z pattern • Higher to lower detail • Top to bottom • Left to right
    12. 12. UBCTUG http://meetup.com/UBCTUG 4. Visual & interactive - Filters • Close to the main view • Right hand side
    13. 13. UBCTUG http://meetup.com/UBCTUG 4. Visual & interactive - Filters • Use quick filters sparingly • They query the entire data • Can be expensive • Use relevant filters • Use context filters • Pre-filtered and faster results • Action filters
    14. 14. UBCTUG http://meetup.com/UBCTUG 4. Visual & interactive - Legends • Allows the usage of colors • Place close to its corresponding view(s) • Custom shapes – same size
    15. 15. UBCTUG http://meetup.com/UBCTUG 4. Visual & interactive – Titles and captions • Use them! • Avoid acronyms UBC = University of British Columbia OR the Ubiquitin C gene
    16. 16. UBCTUG http://meetup.com/UBCTUG 4. Visual & interactive - Annotations
    17. 17. UBCTUG http://meetup.com/UBCTUG 4. Visual & interactive - Annotations • Call attention to specific marks, points or areas Advice • Format • Use sparingly • Don’t add them over areas requiring interaction
    18. 18. UBCTUG http://meetup.com/UBCTUG 4. Visual & interactive - Tooltips • Add details without visually overloading the dashboard • Make them dynamic Advice • Format tooltips at the end • Use a common font • Use formatting option to highlight • Include measure units and names
    19. 19. UBCTUG http://meetup.com/UBCTUG 4. Visual & interactive – Overall format • Make it aesthetically pleasing • Be consistent • Use color wisely (keep in mind black & white printing and colorblindness) • Avoid pie charts for one to many comparisons • 3D charts offer no increase in viewer comprehension • Don’t use the same chart type twice
    20. 20. UBCTUG http://meetup.com/UBCTUG Recap • Choose current metrics that matter • Make it simple to access • Keep it visual and interactive
    21. 21. UBCTUG http://meetup.com/UBCTUG Recommended books • Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data (Stephen Few) • Effective Dashboard Design (Gail La Grouw) • Business Dashboards: A Visual Catalog for Design and Deployment (Nils Rasmussen, Manish Bansal, Claire Chen)
    22. 22. UBCTUG http://meetup.com/UBCTUG Thank you! UBCTUG http://meetup.com/UBCTUG

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