As a beginner in the world of data analytics, creating visualisations that communicate your story effectively can feel like a mammoth task. However, with the right tools, you can create insightful visualisations that communicate your findings clearly.

Here are some tips we’ve been learning about what it takes to create effective visualisations in Tableau:

What’s your story?
Before you begin creating your visualisation, make sure you have a clear understanding of what you want to communicate. What story does your data tell? What insights do you want to get across? Starting with a clear objective will help guide your design process and ensure that you and your audience understand the message you want to convey. It’ll also help you stay on track and not cram your dashboard with too much stuff.

That leads me to our next point: Keep it simple: don’t overload your visualisation with too much information. Stay on topic.

Chart type
Choose the right chart type. As we have learned during our first few weeks at the Data School, that is 98% of the time never a pie chart. The type of chart you choose can make a big difference in how your audience interprets your data. Consider line charts to communicate change over time and bar charts to communicate comparisons between different categories or groups. Keep pie on your plate, not on your dashboard.

Use colour wisely
Colour is a powerful tool in data visualisation, but with great power comes great responsibility. The right palette is a crucial choice. It can be used to highlight important information or make your dashboard more visually appealing. When using colour, consider a palette that is appropriate for your data and that won’t overwhelm your audience. Consider the cultural and psychological associations with certain colours. For example, although in reporting on financial markets in Australia we see red associated with declining revenue, while green is associated with growth, I’ve learned from my classmates that the opposite is true in other countries.

It’s also important to consider accessibility and the needs of your entire audience, including those who are colour-blind. Using a colour palette that is easy to distinguish for those with colour blindness can make a big difference in making your visualisation inclusive. Tableau has several colour palettes that are designed to be read by people with different types of colour blindness.

Test and apply feedback
Test your dashboard: don’t be afraid to test your visualisation with an audience and change it around based on feedback. I did this a lot before my final presentation for my Data School application, and it was incredibly valuable.

Use interactivity
Think filters, actions, and parameters to allow your audience to explore your data and discover their own insights. Test it with others to make sure it’s easy to use.

Be consistent with your design
Use a consistent colour palette, font, and layout throughout to help your audience understand and navigate your dashboard.

In conclusion, keep your dashboard focused, use appropriate chart types, highlight your key insights using interactivity and use a consistent design. Your dashboard will wow your audience and effectively communicate your data story.




The Data School
Author: The Data School