Do not set and forget. Improve your Tableau work over time.

I was combining multiple exposures of my Grand Canyon photos to create one better image. Consider alternatives to your dashboard.

With the power of Tableau, it’s almost too easy to bring up a data set, build a dashboard, then publish your work. There is a cost though to this freedom and we trap ourselves without knowing

The cost can actually be quite high if our work could have made it easier for others to analyze the data — with the worst case result being a bad decision. What might take you a little more time could deliver huge time savings to the organization as a whole.

First, I’m challenging you to play with a couple ideas, especially to not default showing data the same way every time. Remember, it’s more about laying out a story — building a narrative — than how to show any single piece of information. You must do this especially for work that will exist long-term, as well as for a quick analysis. (See Telling a story? First be clear on your message., Jul 17, 2013)

Second, it’s important to make improvements; revisit previous work and apply new concepts you have learned. Do not shy away from making changes on the notion that “People will get confused.” They are typically happy when you make their work easier. To lessen the surprise, simply send a brief email explaining the change and post a note at the top of the dashboard.

Third, there is usually no perfect, one solution. Invest effort to consider options, while being mindful of moving forward (no analysis paralysis here please). You will definitely come up with ideas that do not fit today, but will be absolutely perfect soon. Make sure to keep all your work!

Posted in Dashboard, Decision Making, Prototyping, Tableau Software, Visualization

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