Lesson from Dashboard Week

As mentioned in the last posts, the Data School Sydney had a dashboard week. Dashboard week is a week where we (the Data Schoolers) build a dashboard every single day. We get the dataset in the morning (not a clean dataset). And we build a dashboard throughout the day and present it the next morning. (My Tableau profile: https://public.tableau.com/app/profile/jeff.hwapyeong.kim.)

When I heard that we are building one dashboard per day, I was intimidated. This is perhaps because, previously, I used to spend over a week building a dashboard that I would be satisfied with.



How to improve your Data Visualization / Dashboarding Skills

Before I dive into it this, I want to make sure one thing. I am definitely not writing this post from an attitude of “I know it all.” In fact, my Data Visualization journey has been less than a year. I am writing this hoping that there are people, especially those who are just starting to have an interest in Data Visualization and Tableau, who can take something out of this.

Now that you know the context, I want to share what I have learned from this week.



Mapping It Out Before Getting In

I learned that taking some time to consider the direction, as to what you want to present from the data and where the dashboard will focus on, speeds up the process. Previously, I used to just dive into data and try to make visible progress as soon as I got the data. The problem with this approach was that I ended up doing a lot more work. As I was exploring the data without a certain direction in mind, I was overwhelmed by the amount of data and started to look everywhere to understand the data. This always took a long time but I didn’t gain much of a deep understanding.

Narrowing Down the Focus

Since I didn’t map out the direction, I used to end up with a dashboard that dealt with too much data. The dashboard was board without a good theme and concept. Even though those board and user-dependent drill-down dashboards are required sometimes, being able to focus on a certain story is quite important. Especially, when you haven’t got much time to build a dashboard or when the requirement needs a small relevant part of the data, your ability to intentionally narrow down the focus will help you build the dashboard effectively and quickly.




I tried these two points throughout the dashboard week. And, this saved me a lot of time and effort. I did not need to investigate and clean up a large data set. Instead, I easily filtered out and reduced the size of the data. Also, when I brought the data for visualization, I dealt with only a few columns and calculations. This allowed me to build a dashboard that is more intuitive, deeper and has clear insights.






Jeff Hwapyeong Kim
Author: Jeff Hwapyeong Kim

After completing a Bachelor of Theology, I began my Data Analytics journey with the Data School Down Under. I am an analytical, process-oriented, and motivated data analytics consultant with a goal to turn data into information, information into insight, and insight into business decisions. Having a growing interest in the field of data visualization, I always aim to compress complex datasets into approachable and appealing graphics. I have skills in Data Visualization, Data Prep and Manipulation through software such as Tableau, Alteryx, Excel, Power BI, and SQL.