Couple of weeks ago, we have got the chance to be the trainer and give tableau workshops to the others who share the passion of data viz! The topic of my session is about Dashboard Design, which I find very interesting and requires ongoing improvement – there is no end being creative! Here are the 5-step Approach to design a dashboard in Tableau.

1. Sketch Your Dashboard Charts

The major way to organise sheets in Tableau dashboard is through CONTAINERS. There are two types of containers: Horizontal and Vertical, and the difference is as indicated by their names. As the containers make it easier to add paddling and distribute charts evenly, it is suggested that before starting to drop sheets in the dashboard, sketch out the dashboard first so you would have an idea what type of container will be needed in each section.


2. Think about the Logic of Your Data Journey/ Level of Details

After you sketch your dashboard design and drag the containers in the dashboard, it is time to put charts in them. I will keep 2 things in mind when I am organising the sheets. First, think about the logic flow of your data story – how one sheet connect to the other in your dashboard to allow the audience follow the flow better, and to allow the easy manipulation of the filters and highlights, which is the next step we will be focusing on. Second, think of the level of details of the charts – starting with the big numbers that put audience into the context, and then gradually dice and slice into more details as the logic flows.


3. Interactivity

Then it’s time to add interactivity to the dashboard. There are couple of ways to do that, including: filters, highlighting, show/hide button, swapping sheets with parameters, or add sheets in tooltips (This is the blog on how to add sheets in tooltips: https://www.thedataschool.com.au/juliet-ruan/embedding-worksheets-into-tooltips/). Choose the interactivity type that best servers your purpose.


4. Tooltips

Tooltips are powerful, but are sometimes overlooked. Always remember to format the tool tips to include the right amount of details (get rid of some of the measures that are used for formatting only such as in donut charts). There are diverse ways to format a tooltip: detail lists, sentences, or charts, so choose the type that is most intuitive to the audiences.


5. Paddling

A dashboard with charts right next to each other can look busy and overwhelming. That’s when the paddling really helps to bring some breathing spaces between the charts. This is why sketching your dashboard and organise the charts in containers are really important since it can be confusing where the paddling are added to if we didn’t choose the right chart or container.

It’s great fun making dashboard. With the best practice rules in mind, it will make the process even more interesting. So enjoy your dashboard design! 

The Data School
Author: The Data School