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Matt C Atkins
February 15, 2019

Tableau Dashboards - The Do's and Don'ts (Part 2)

In the second post of this blog series, I give you two more elements you should consider when developing a dashboard.  Mobile delivery and focusing your audience via guided analysis. 



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_smallDo consider mobile devices when designing and developing your dashboard..

When you create and release your dashboard, you want your users to be able to consume your data and be able to clearly understand the story you might be presenting.  This means you should consider those of your audience who may view this information on a mobile device.  Thankfully, Tableau Desktop can help with this via the dashboard dimensions panel and also the 'Device Preview' function.  


At this point, it's a good idea to understand your audience, understand their requirements and be clear on what information matters to them.   The scenario could well be that your user is going into a meeting to present data for a strategic decision-making session, and needs those key pieces of information easily accessible and readily available.  With a well thought out dashboard which caters for those on the move, not only does it mean they can be well prepared and perform, it also shines a more favourable light on you as the developer.  Building trust with your considered design choices, goes a long way. 


Visual Analysis Best Practices: A Guidebook

red cross_smallDon't try to answer every question in one go.  No kitchen sink building!


When gathering requirements for your dashboard, it can be very easy to let 'that list' go on and on.  When it comes to build time, you're scratching your head wondering how you're going to fit it all in and just how many tabs you're going to need.  Don't allow it to get to this point, remember two very important questions; 


“What are the most important questions you want answers to?” 

"Who is it for?”



The first example here, could be considered the 'kitchen sink' approach.  It's not the worst example you'll see but in terms of ease of reference and speed of key fact delivery...this does not cut the mustard.  There's an awful lot going on here, and whilst it may well answer many questions...we want to be more efficient and focused on our discoveries.  Your audience should have a few key items they need to know instantly, and with guided analytics, a new design ethos for your dashboard should be considered.   


With the below example; the Q&A is stripped right back, with a good focus on what's important.  Any additional detail analysis required can be achieved post release either with supportive dashboards, or drill-down functions.  


NOTE:  A good rule of thumb to remember is that each chart on your dashboard should only answer one question at a time.  




With too much information displayed on your dashboard, you run the risk of information overload and your user not being too clear on what conclusions they should be reaching.  Potentially, this could result in further questions being asked which do not pertain to the information provided.  With guided analytics, you can encourage your audience to explore on their own and discover new insights - saving their own bespoke versions of your dashboard.  

Read the best practices

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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