Hey everyone, I am back with a trick that I picked up during dashboard week from my colleagues (namely Jeff and Jo). The tip is quite simple but it can dramatically change your presentation’s flow allowing you to control the audience’s view. So what is this tip I am talking about? I am going to call this Dashboard Segmenting. What do I mean by this? By separating certain parts of your dashboard into different slides you can control the focus of your audience’s attention to the narrative that you want to build with a particular graph or a specific combination of graphs. I am going to use one of my own dashboards as an example of how you can adjust a dashboard to be more suitable for storytelling. My current dashboard is currently a long canvas with multiple charts. In terms of flow, I believe this format is fine as the order is quite obvious (top to bottom), however, there is less of a focus on how each feature is meant to complement each other.

I want to start by breaking down by current dashboard. There was a specific question I wanted to explore, “What is the relationship between education rates and industry pay rates?” which I’ve answered by using multiple graphs. This can be split into three sections. To facilitate better audience focus, I can separate these three sections into three different dashboards.

Dashboard 1

Dashboard 2

Dashboard 3

Dashboard 4

Segmenting the original dashboard into four new dashboards allows you to control the audience’s attention. I believe that having the question on its own the dashboard prevents the audience’s attention from wandering to the graphs before they have given any thought to the dashboard’s overarching question. Additionally, breaking the dashboard up into more focused dashboards allows the audience to see everything that you are talking about. Unlike, my original dashboard which is elongated with parts of other charts always being cutoff. Segmenting will minimise this chaos.

Even though I believe this improves storytelling there are also situations where this might negatively impact your presentation and dashboard overall. Something that you might not notice from just the images is the interactions my dashboard 3 and 4 have. If interactions between your graphs is a key feature in your dashboard segmenting the dashboard will most likely be a poor decision. This is because segmenting will limit how the audience can view these interactions, it will require them or you to constantly switch back and forth.

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).