Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away,” – French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

 

Some dashboard examples

There are so many Tableau dashboards on Tableau Public. Some are good, some are bad, and some are just… unbearable. You will know why instantly when you see these dashboards.

To be honest, despite how amazing the technical side of this viz is, I just didn’t know where to look when I first saw this viz.

 

Until this day, I still don’t understand what this viz is trying to say. Maybe Music people would understand, but definitely, this is not for ordinary Tableau users.

 

Less is more and visual storytelling

A neat dashboard is so important for visual storytelling. My argument is simply based on two observations I had from the audience (user) side and the presenter (creator) side:

  1. For the audience (user), at any given time, unless the dashboard is key to the business of the audience, people generally lose interest in steering at one dashboard very quickly. If the dashboard cannot self-explain its purpose in a neat and fast way, the audience is most likely to switch their attention to another dashboard instead.
  2. For the presenter (creator): I’m not sure if you have presented a dashboard before (I did… a lot). I think the most awkward moment for any presenter is during the presentation, one simply forgets where to click as there are way too many charts and actions embedded in the dashboard. To avoid this, the only right thing to do is to minimise charts and actions. If the audience is interested, you can always create more in the future.

 

 

My practice

I have created a dashboard today using the above ‘Less is More’ principle. The dashboard is ‘Customer Service Requests Analysis for the City of Melbourne’. You can find my dashboard at:

https://public.tableau.com/app/profile/luke.yin/viz/CustomerServiceRequestsAnalysisCityofMelbourne/FinalDashboard

 

I use this dashboard to answer four straightforward questions regarding the subject matter:

  1. WHERE WERE THE REQUESTS FROM? (location)
  2. HOW MANY REQUESTS EACH WEEK? (time)
  3. WHAT ARE PEOPLE REQUESTING? (category)
  4. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM? (ramification)

 

And I use mainly line charts and bar charts to answer the above questions. They are simple and powerful.

 

 

Most importantly, the audience will understand my dashboard with ease. It tells a story already by itself.

Luke Yin
Author: Luke Yin

Before joining the Data School, Luke was a PhD researcher studying urban history of global cities at the University of Melbourne. Previously, Luke worked as an internal accountant for a Melbourne local winery. When conducting urban research, Luke discovered his passion for data visualisation and analysis through a number of university-based digital projects. Later, this became the reason for him to join the Data School. Luke wants to combine his expertise in research and business with data analysis to help solve real-world problems.