The Reason Your Dashboard Isn’t Used | Data Stories Deep Dive Episode 2 | Narrative Science

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Data Stories Deep Dive Episode 2 Recap: Tommy Puglia

During our 2nd episode of our video series, Data Stories Deep Dive, we spoke with Tommy Puglia. Tommy is a Microsoft MVP and Senior Manager of BI at CompTIA. He also leads the Chicago Power BI user group. He joined us to talk about a common problem- we expect everyone to adapt and be able to analyze and explore data visualizations. But in reality, we are forcing end-users to adapt to the viz rather than adapting the viz to fit their needs – what we need to do is take an audience-first approach to dashboard creation.

Some insights from the conversation with Tommy:

  • You need to know your audience when building a dashboard. Think about: 
    • What does your audience do? What is their role?
    • Why are they coming to you? What do they need?
    • What drives the decisions they make?

“Every dashboard should be targeted to a specific audience, not a broad group.”

  • Your visuals should behave like text does: context is key.
    • Is the visual help driving the decision? If it’s just nice to look at- then take it out.
    • Everything in a dashboard should help drive a decision.
  • Where can things go wrong in a dashboard?
    • Too much focus on visuals and not on context.
    • Don’t go too broad with your dashboard, have an audience in mind.
    • Understand that not everyone is analytically minded.

  • How can you win over dashboard users?
    • Do a discovery phase and interview stakeholders in advance. Understand their current state and get an idea of their ideal outcome
    • Know what you need to show in advance- what are the requirements? How are they going to use the data?
    • Sandox and version- test out your dashboards in advance. Show all stakeholders how to use and interact with the dashboard. Get feedback and make edits.

As a reminder, our video series is bi-weekly and hosted by our VP of Marketing, Cassidy Shield. We will feature different data storytelling experts to show you how to best use your data. The mission is simple- we want to teach everyone how to be a better data storyteller. You can subscribe to the series to join live or listen later.

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