As businesses collect increasing amounts of vital data, the need for effective, intuitive, and actionable interfaces increases every day. Tableau is part of a new class of business intelligence tools, which dramatically reduce the time and technical acumen required to derive insights from data and publish it in a consumable format.
We'll begin by laying the groundwork for a successful dashboard and then move on to constructing five different dashboards of increasing complexity.
Starting with the Strategic/Executive dashboard, we'll design a few of the most common dashboard elements and assemble our first complete dashboard. Next, we'll show you how to use Tactical dashboards for visualizations that can help depict progress and draw attention to important areas. We'll then dive into increasing the dashboard interactivity by using Operational dashboards when focusing on granular detail. Using advanced techniques in Tableau, we'll then show you how to use Analytical dashboards that can provide you with the tools to effectively extract knowledge from your data. We'll also walk through how to quickly create a visualization using Ad-hoc dashboards that allow you to effectively keep an eye on a specific area of interest. Lastly, we'll cover the styling settings and publication options and conclude with best practices.
This course guides you through the entire “how and why" of each task in the dashboard creation process, which will translate easily to your own dashboard projects.
About the Author
Tony Kau is a Tableau Desktop 8 Qualified Associate, and he is putting its power to use in his role as a reporting analyst for a Fortune 500 company. His analytical background spans a decade, during which he has used a variety of business intelligence software, though none were better than Tableau. His passion is efficiently leveraging data to inform strategic business decisions.
He holds a degree in Business Administration from the University of Oregon, and his background includes web design, programming, and financial analysis.
Without a clear purpose and vision, many dashboard projects fail to live up to their potential. We'll look at the most effective steps to take when you start your Tableau project.
There are a myriad of ways to display information, but we'll explore the vital principles to help you choose the best method.
Creating a one-stop-shop dashboard for more than a Filtering allows your user to see the dashboard with only the datathey're interested in.
You may require the user's input in order to return the information they need—parameters enable this functionality.
Your business has goals, and you have data pertaining toyour progress. However, we'll look at how to visually put the two together in an impactful way.
The higher-level executives will more likely be concerned with long-term trends and periodic updates. We can meet their expectations by delivering an easy-to-use, high-level dashboard.
When we have a very important number to call out, it can be effective to simply show the number on the dashboard with a descriptive label for context.
For comparisons over time, you can generally use table calculations. However, since we only want to display the value from a single point in time tied to a parameter, we can use a few easily calculated fields.
While looking at a bar chart for a single period in time, we'd like to be able to compare the change since the earlier period. A bullet chart shows the previous period in a clear but nonintrusive way.
Project Leadership teams need relevant information in an easy-to-understand format to make the best decisions.
When we need to show how multiple components contribute or detract from the total, a waterfall chart is an effective viz.
While analyzing a data point across two different dimensions, a heat map can allow us to quickly see patterns or the lack thereof between them.
Tableau makes most mapping tasks extremely easy, which we can use to our advantage while slicing a measure by geography.
While a few different views of the same data on one page can be helpful, tying them together using filter actions can dramatically improve the user experience and provide a drill-down effect.
Operational leadership and staff need access to relevant data in an actionable format. Keeping this in mind, we'll build a focused dashboard.
Seeing a direct comparison of two metrics on the same chart can be helpful to drive understanding and help managers to manage KPIs
To visualize points relationship to goals and other points, use a scatter-plot-like chart and reference areas
When user experience dictates integration to a website or a web-based app, such as a CRM, you can use URL actions in Tableau to allow your users to utilize this functionality.
While using multiple dashboards that share the same data, an intuitive drill-down feature to move from one to the other can empower a great user experience.
Analytical Dashboards empower analysts to explore root causes, see the big picture, then dig into trends, and uncover hidden insights.
While timeframe filters are appropriate in some cases, a more defined approach using parameters can provide a better experience for your users.
Power users want additional control over the visualizations, so allow them to choose which measures are plotted against each other using parameters.
With a color-highlighted table, variations in measures are easy to see, but showing grand totals skews the color scale. We'll creatively work around this problem.
We want the visualization to do as much work as possible to enable the analyst to find the answers they seek, but often, the analyst needs to access the row-level data to go further.
Ad-hoc dashboards empower our end users to explore data based on a unique request or to answer a specific, non-typical question.
To eliminate noise in your data, it's often a good idea to treat a group or a set of data as a single entity.
If you want to group numerical data into equal-sized intervals, bins make the process quick and easy.
When trying to call out a specific point for your users, add an annotation to draw attention and communicate your insights.
If your data depicts a conversion or retention rate, one of the best ways to visualize it is using a funnel chart.
Default settings in Tableau aren't bad as compared to other BI tools, but taking the extra effort to polish your dashboard can greatly improve the user experience.
To minimize the number of pixels your user has to process, remove chart elements that arenot key to understanding the information.
To provide your user with faster precision comprehension than tooltip data, use data labels. However, balance that need for precision with the need to consume information quickly.
When you user wants more information about a data point, hovering your mouse over that point should provide the context and story of the figure, with appropriate analysis, definitions, and follow-up actions (drill-downs).
To provide a complete, sleek look and feel, finish your dashboard by tying in the remaining elements to your new style.
If you publish without sufficient quality control, your users are more likely to resist adoption. To ensure a smooth rollout, keep in mind these tips prior to publication.
Publishing to Tableau Public is as easy as saving your file, but make sure you understand which options to select for your particular use case.
The Tableau server has much more flexibility than Tableau Public, so it's important to understand what each of the options mean.
If the budget is tight, or you're piloting deployment in your organization, Tableau Reader is a free environment for your users to view and interact with your dashboards.
You know how to use Tableau and make a dashboard, but you need to know the best way to set yourself up for success on your first project.
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