Designing a dashboard

Once you identified the Business Case you need to solve, you can start the actual creation of your dashboard.

What  do you need for that?

Actually, there are three key aspects to consider:

  • Design Skills: What you want to build?
  • Construction Skills: How to create it in Tableau Software?
  • Resources & Time: Budget and time to do the job


Design Skills

This is where 90% of the success of your dashboard is decided: What do you want to create?

  • Which User Experience... to get users love your dashboard
  • Which Key Performance Indicators... to carefully measure your activity
  • Which Data Visualizations... to maximize understanding of data


User Experience

Defining a clear cinematic

How do you want to organize your dashboard? Which pages? Which topics to address by page?

Generally speaking, you should always start by a single page Cockpit providing a transversal overview of the business case you address. This cockpit should be organized in thematic areas, each thematic area has a dedicated dashboard page.

This first dashboard layer (cockpit L1 + L2) serves as  Communication purposes: WHAT is happening? Which performance?

A second layer must be added to address Analytical purposes and answer the questions: WHY did it happen?

This 2nd layer should be composed by more dynamic dashboard pages which allow to investigate easily within information and discover patterns which can explain the results.

The addition of those two layers makes an actionable dashboard.


Visual Identity & Aesthetic

How do you want compose each dashboard page? Which Structure? Which colors?

A heavy factor of dashboard adoption is emotional. If you want people to use and promote your dashboard, they must LOVE it. For this, not only the data must be relevant and actionable but the dashboard must look exceptional.

The best approach for this (when it happens) is to leverage the Corporate Standards of the organization for which your are creating the dashboard. If it does not exist, you can be inspired by their corporate web site: reuse the colors, the images, the font... When looking at your dashboard the first time, the users must feel amazed!

-> Page Structure

Define a page structure and stick to it across your dashboard: Position of the logo, dashboard title, page title, filters, disclaimers...

-> Usage of colors

There are two ways to use colors:

1) Use colors for aesthetic only

2) Use colors to highlight performance

I think option 2 is a better usage of colors, but please, don't mix the two options!

Then, select the background color.. black is beautiful :-)


Finally, the small details make all the difference:

  • ALL your objects in your dashboards must be positioned perfectly

  • Not a single technical name should remain

  • Colors must chorded

  • ... everything must be perfect

I count a minimum of 30% of dashboard creation time to review the details.



How do you want your users to interact with the information? Which filters? How to drill from a macro point of view to the lowest level of information?

A good dashboard cinematic as presented previously is an excellent starting point.

However, do remember that your dashboard users might have different profile and seniority towards data. 

As a general approach, KEEP YOUR DASHBOARD SIMPLE and accessible. It will always be possible to enrich and make your dashboard more sophisticated as the maturity of your users grows.


Response Time

Response time of your dashboard is also (and sadly) a key element of its adoption.

In Tableau, there are most two factors which could impact performances:

  • The volume of raw data and related calculations
  • The number of sheets and dashboard pages in your workbook


Key Performance Indicators

How to measure my performance?

Define carefully how do you want to measure your performance. A given KPI is always one point of view on actual facts. Do not hesitate to define different KPIs if needed to represent the reality from different angles: Turnover AND Margin AND Customer Satisfaction (for instance)

Here after, an inspiration you can get on which KPIs can be created on a Data Source.




Data Visualizations

Which DataViz to support my decision-making?

A good DataViz is not only a graphical representation of numbers, it must facilitate the understanding of information.

Here is a great way to be inspired when selecting a DataViz:

Select them carefully so that, instantaneously, the users figure out what is happening and can act on it. And again, keep it simple and self-explainable.


Construction Skills

For everything you designed, you must know how to create them with Tableau. This includes:

  • Tableau Knowledge
  • Know-how & techniques
  • Tips & Tricks


Resources & Time

Finally, you need time, budget and people to do the job.


With LinPack-for-Tableau, we try to answer those three elements:

  • Design Skills: By providing pre-defined dashboards and templates
  • Construction Skills: By fully automating the creation of Tableau dashboards  (almost no Tableau skills required)
  • Resources & Time: By creating your dashboards in just 5 minutes, you improve dramatically your productivity with Tableau


Just try it here :-)