Hey everyone, today is the last day of DSAU14’s dashboard week. To be honest it was quite a rough week but manageable in the end. In this blog, I want to write about my thoughts on dashboard week and what I’ve learnt from it. Earlier this week I’ve written about what I’ve learned during dashboard week but I wanted to expand I little bit more in this post. To start things off I want to provide a link to all the dashboards I’ve built this week from day 1 to day 5.

My Dashboards

1. Focusing on your strengths

If you have taken a look at some of the dashboards I’ve made this week you might notice that they are quite similar in design. This was something that I was pondering throughout the week. And to be honest aesthetic design is not my strong point. I was consistently struggling to make my dashboards look nice like some of my colleagues’ dashboards. I want to highlight that by the end of this week I was less concerned about this and realised it might be a good thing. Rather than trying to focus on the aesthetic aspect, I switched to primary functionality and exploratory features that allowed me to answer specific questions. In this case, it was better to focus on my own strengths, which in my case might have been analysed. By trying to fit in the analysis and design I was spreading myself too thin.

2. Learning

The next thing I want to talk about is not being afraid of learning from others. What I mean by this is If you see something that is good you should try to implement it into your own work. Of course, you shouldn’t be plagiarising but you shouldn’t be afraid of copying a design because you weren’t the first to do it. Throughout the week I saw this being done over and over again. Dashboard week is great as it allows the team to share their work in a non-restrictive environment (except the time constraint) unlike client projects. Creative minds are able to be freer with their designs. Additionally, this allows people to learn from each other.

3. Improvisation

As you might already know every day required the team to create a new dashboard and presentation for the next day. This required me to work quickly. Therefore, some things that I think are important is having some staples. What is meant by this is that you should have certain things to fall back on. When constructing my dashboards there are certain features that I liked using because I knew them well and was comfortable analysing with. For example, scatter plots and KPIs with sparklines (Andy Kriebal’s tutorial). These were some of the things I was relying on so I could focus on other things such as analysis and storytelling. One more thing that I want to add is the speed of work. Because I was comfortable with these certain dashboarding aspects I was able to work fast the moment I had an idea. So I want to highlight that just because you have a new data set every day doesn’t mean you need to reinvent your dashboards. I used scatterplots multiple times but they were telling a different story every time.

To conclude, I want to say that I survived dashboard week. Thanks for reading, and have a great day.

Leo Huynh
Author: Leo Huynh

Leo did a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and neuroscience at the University of Sydney. While studying at university, he developed an interest in data science and visualisation. He specifically appreciates how data can be used to inform decision making. During his free time, he enjoys playing video games, cooking, and listening to music. His favourite food is Bún bò Huế (Vietnamese rice noodle dish with sliced beef).