Learn the benefits of creating a dashboard.
- [Nate] If you've made it to this course, you probably already know a bit about Tableau, but in case this is your first time with Tableau, they continue to grow as a business intelligence platform that allows you, in their words, to see and understand your data. Dashboards are the core of Tableau, and learning to develop and build effective dashboards is necessary to using the tool and bringing your data to life. As of this recording, Tableau has been recognized as a leader in business intelligence software for the third year in a row. The Gartner Magic Quadrant ranks players in the business intelligence space, and Tableau has again been listed in their leader category.
So why have people started to use Tableau? Well, there's a couple of different reasons. First, its fairly intuitive platform. Once you learn the layout, you can really, anybody can get started with building and creating dashboards or visual analytics. It does take some learning, but once you get the layout, which we're hopefully going to cover a bit in this course, it really doesn't take that long to produce, so part of the advantage, again, there, is anybody can create it, and you can spin up dashboards pretty quickly. You can also generate a lot of flexibility, so frequently, we might create one particular view, but viewers can really explore and dig into the data and other findings.
In short, it's about bringing data to life through visual analytics. All right, so this course is going to be about building effective dashboards in Tableau, and so, one of the key questions we want to start it with is, well, what is a dashboard? A dashboard is really just a graphical summary of various pieces of important information typically used to give an overview of a business problem. So when you think about answering business problems, a lot of times one of the questions that I first ask myself is, "Do I want to use Tableau, or do I want to go to Excel?" Don't get me wrong, I love Excel, and have used a similar format for building dashboards in Excel before, and though Tableau dashboards, spinning up Tableau dashboards, is quick, it's not necessarily as fast as just building a pivot table, so when I think about what tool I'm going to use, I wind up doing an inventory of the pros and cons of both tools to figure out where the data analysis belongs.
So Tableau dashboards are both a visual tool and a tool for exploration, which we can definitely do in Excel, but generally, I default to Tableau now, when I want to make the data more interactive. We can really create a visual story and allow users to really dive into it and continue to change charts or work around things, so, though we may be providing an initial answer to a question, we want to allow people to really explore their data in detail. I may also want to give them multiple chart types or let them understand their data over time, allow them to flip charts, move things around.
We can do that all very easily in Tableau. Within Excel, really, the focus is on calculations, numerical exploration. Excel is a very good tool for that. It really is good at working at a single data source or working within pivot tables, so there is definitely some advantages to Excel, but really, we compete for time and attention, and building something that can get someone to stop and think about the data is as much a part of the goal as anything else. And so let's not forget that charts are easier for people to read and for them to understand their data. Tables and text have their place, but charts allow for quick analysis of data.
So I wanted to pull up this example, a classic example, but let's look at Anscombe's Quartet. On the left hand side, a typical Excel breakdown, where we might have a giant table of data that we can comb through, we can do some numerical analysis on, but in this particular example, those four sets of data all have the same statistical properties. Only when we see them in charts do we start to understand the difference between our four different data sets. This is the power of visual analytics. Tableau has an interactive, intuitive, and flexible design that allows us to build effective dashboards that can be used for data exploration and analysis.
- Sketching your designs
- Formatting data
- Creating cross-data joins
- Creating visuals
- Grouping data
- Using stories vs. tabs
- Changing chart measures and types with interactive parameters
- Making iterations and improvements on your Tableau dashboard design