How to deal with overcrowded dashboards (a mini guide)

by Damiana Spadafora

Andy must have thought one blog post a day wasn’t challenging enough, so he added one dashboard a day to the task list for this week. I understand that we exceeded his expectations but still… Anyway, I have been away for a couple of days so I will have to double post in order to catch up by the end of this week, but here is my contribution for the Olympics challenge (heads up before you click on the link, it’s a large dashboard, I am struggling with Tableau and my computer’s screen’s crazy high resolution):



I cannot resist the temptation of creating stories with my data, so this would have probably worked perfectly as a series of story points but it had to be a dashboard so… I guess one could say it’s a story-board! It’s far from perfect, very very far indeed, but it was done in less than two hours, which is my first learning point:

You can actually get a decent dashboard done in less than two hours

I am going to try and create a dashboard in one hour, but that will be the subject of the next post. But here are more things I have learned for this one:

How to make a DNA chart

They are amazing to show gaps, I have used them under Andy’s supervision two weeks ago for a client and they loved it! With a reason, they are amazing to show gaps. So, do yourself a favour and go watch Andy’s tutorial here:¬†

Too crowded? Use blanks

I reckon my dashboard is a bit too crowded to be saved, but it is the addition of blank spaces that makes it readable and curbs the “being overwhelmed” effect. I find tiled blank spaces easier to use, but floating has the added benefit of flexibility.

Consider tiled text boxes, rather than titles

They are easier to align across worksheets (Tableau does that automatically) and the actual graph has more space for itself. It is a minor thing, but it helps if you are struggling with a dashboard that is too full of elements.