So, you’re new to tableau and may have come across the terms “Viz” or “Dashboard”; but you’re not quite sure what exactly it consists of; or how to go about creating one. Well, in this two-part series I will be taking you through the steps I usually take when creating my dashboards, so you can gain a better understanding on how to create one for yourself. Part one will be looking at data inspection and analysis. Here we will learn the important metrics to look out for and how we can further use these to extract a story from the data.

Let’s start off by defining what is a Viz or a Dashboard, this is basically a collection of sheets that contain graphs, charts and/ or big numbers to create a visual snapshot of your dataset. Now, we can move onto the steps to create one.

Step 1: let’s find and analyse our data set.

I found a very interesting data set which compares Dreamworks films to Pixar, here’s a link to the dataset

Let’s inspect the data…

The main thing we want to look at are the metrics, specifically, how are we going to provide a comparison and what measures we can use. In this case we can compare the films performance based on profit and ratings for both companies. Looking more closely at the data, we can note a few things:

  1. The films are from 1995 to 2016, so we will have to mention this in our dashboard
  2. Dreamworks had created almost double the number of films than Pixar had during this time. This is noteworthy as we can investigate this further. Using our metrics, profit, and ratings, we can explore the question “What matters more the quality of kids and family films or a higher production of these films?” This will be our story!

When working with larger datasets, we can find a story by inputting the data straight into tableau and inspecting it that way (in this case Count films by each company, see below).

Have a look at what you have available to you. Try to ask a question when inspecting your data and use your viz (compilation of charts) to answer it. It doesn’t matter if the answer to your question is ‘there has been no change’ or whether the answer to your question seems obvious. It’s still an answer, and you used your viz to prove and explore that, which is the purpose of a dashboard.

Step 2: let’s create a rough sketch of what we want our dashboard to look like.

Now, we know the general direction of our viz and we want to visualise these ideas. Note, this is a draft, just so we get our ideas out on a page and create a starting point for ourselves, it can always change in the future. I usually use the tool Excalidraw to do this.

Now we are ready to start creating the sheets for our dashboard in tableau. To see part two of this series, check out this blog. I really hope this helps!

Check out the finished viz at What Matters more the quality of kids and family films or a higher production? | Tableau Public

Kavita Nand
Author: Kavita Nand