Welcome to my second entry of the Don’t Be Me series where I go through my mistakes that I have learned during my training at the Data School Down Under and I hope that anyone who does read this can avoid these mistakes. The following discussion here relates to Part 2 of my Project Starter Blog so I recommend checking out that blog as well to get the full scope on my take about story telling with data.
In my experience so far, I had realised that one area that I could improve on is giving a dashboard purpose. What I mean by this is that often I would create a dashboard with no particular end user in mind, leaving it without a story to tell or an explanation of the data.
Why give it purpose? – A birthday cake analogy
Once you’ve prepared the data, it can be easy to get straight to making a dashboard and then test out the functionality of what you built. After spending some time pondering about it, I associated it with making a birthday cake for someone. It has a clear purpose with a particular person that it has been designed for.
Baking a birthday cake for someone’s birthday has purpose.
- Designed for someone in mind
- The intention is to have people gather to celebrate their birthday and notice it’s significance
- It has an important part in the story of a person’s life
Now, how does creating a dashboard with data relate to this?
- Dashboard was designed for an end user
- It could be used to help explore the data or generate actionable insight that is significant for the users
- It tells a story about the data
So when you take out the birthday in the birthday cake situation, it is just a cake that lacks some purpose but still delicious to consume. A dashboard that has all the perfect ingredients but lacks purpose becomes less useful.
How to give it purpose? – Some ideas to keep in mind
- Who is it for?
- What do they need to know?
- How can they use it to find what they need to know?
- Why would it be important to them?
Thanks for reading and just Don’t Be Me!
Next time when you create a dashboard have these thoughts in mind so you can avoid to make the same mistakes as I did. Keep an eye out for my next blog for Don’t Be Me, where I will explore handling time management for short deadlines. See you next time!