Today at work we were working on a dashboard and needed to give end users the option of filtering the view so they could focus on the performance of specific Dimension members. We started by fiddling with the default filters, but no matter what you do, you can’t really get the out-of-the-box filters to look that good.

You can change this:

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To this:

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By changing to a Single Value (list) and using the Customise sub-menu to remove the Show “All” Value:

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It looks better, but it’s still a bit dull, isn’t it? My haphazard memory then kicked in, and I recalled that David Pires had once done something with filters which looked pretty cool. A quick scan through David’s Tableau Public profile revealed what I was looking for, and it was the solution which inspired what we implemented to tart up the final dashboard.

David’s approach was slightly different to mine, as he used the following structure:

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So the relevant Dimension is on Columns, and its members appear as the separate entities in those columns. The same Dimension is replicated on Colour and Label, with the labelling centre aligned. This method nicely differentiates (using Colour) between the Dimension members. Turning off “Include command buttons” and “Show tooltips” from the Edit tooltip screen means that hovering over these items doesn’t pop up any additional detail later on.

If you then create a basic dashboard with a chart and that “filter” sheet, and use the “filter” sheet as a filter, I believe it gives a better user experience than a standard filter. A basic sample of this technique can be found here.

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We implemented the same concept, but didn’t need to colour the different Dimension members or charts, and so could adopt a slight variation of the theme:

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It just uses the Text chart type. The colouration of the buttons is achieved by colouring the Pane:

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And the white space between buttons is just white column dividers, set to the second width and with the Level set to maximum:

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The dashboard showcasing this technique can be viewed and downloaded here. A simple to implement tip which aesthetically enhances dashboards in 2 minutes.

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