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Matt C Atkins
February 08, 2019

Tableau Dashboards - The Do's and Don'ts

In this blog series, I will take you through some of the important things you should consider doing when developing a dashboard, and those that you should not.


So, you have Tableau Desktop, you have a dataset, and you can already see the insights and stories you can extract from said data.  A dashboard will be an excellent medium for communicating those insights.  For your dashboard to be genuinely awesome and empowering for those that make decisions, you should really take the time to think about the design and content.  Plan your build and consider some very important elements.



green tick_smallExperiment with your dashboard.  Collaborate.  Iterate.  Feedback.

When I started out with Tableau, I was so focused on building the most amazing dashboard, I neglected the basics of development.  When it came to sharing my work, the response was not what I expected, with a good deal of confusion and apprehension toward the product…and me as the developer.  This scenario is avoidable! Blog Series - Post 1 img 1 Blurred

 Blog Series - Post 1 Image 2 Blurred

Remember: users may not have the knowledge that you do and may not be interested in the technical issues involved in creating a finished product.  You may know how to interact with your dashboard, but your users won’t have your context.


It takes time to get your dashboard right.  Collaborate with your users, involve them in your build and make the product useful for them.  Solicit feedback with each iteration as multiple users will have different perspectives.  Now with the finished product, your users will be familiar and comfortable with the dashboard, presenting a much more positive experience. 

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red cross_smallDon't over-design your dashboard.


It can be very tempting to go nuts and design a dashboard that really is very eye catching, like a piece of art.  There is a time and place for this ethos though.  The first questions you should answer are:


“What is the question I am trying to answer?” 

"Who is it for?”


The first example here, granted, looks very cool by design and concept.  But it doesn’t present guided analytics and rapid highlights.  Is this suitable for say; relating findings to your CEO or manager?

Blog Series - Post 1 image 3 Blurred

In a business environment, your priority should be functionality and simplicity.  Maintain a consistent colour scheme and easy-to-understand charts.  You’ll find that this approach will tell the story you want to tell, much more effectively and efficiently.  This is just a basic quick example below, of a more focused approach

Blog Series - Post 1 image 4 Blurred

The benefit here is two-fold:

  1. Your audience gains confidence in their data and the product. This empowers users to make informed strategic decisions quickly.
  2. Your audience gains confidence in you as a developer and a professional.  You clearly demonstrate that you can convert their requirements into simple, yet insightful story telling.

You should also consider following visual best practices in your build.  Knowing what and where to place priority elements in your dashboard will help massively.  You can find much more information on this by using the button below. 

Visual Analysis Best Practices: A Guidebook

I hope you found this blog post useful.  Next week, I shall add another couple of tips on the Do's and Don'ts of creating dashboards.


If you'd like to find out more about how Promatix can help you with Tableau, please do send us a message! 

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