5 Tips for Tableau Story Telling

How to Navigate a Tableau Dashboard?

Story Question Tableau Business Intelligence

Tableau Dashboards and Reports are always best presented as a story. “Tableau story telling” allows you to guide yourself through all of the technical pieces while connecting the dots that you might have otherwise overlooked. OK, so it’s easy to tell a story when you present your dashboard live in person to an audience, but how do you tell a story in Tableau Software, without a presenter? This Tableau tip will walk you through creating a Sheet Selector for a dashboard, which allows you to tell a story without being there to present it yourself.

Why is Tableau Story Telling Better?

once a upon a time story telling bi

  • It makes sense to visualize relationships
  • Understand the order to understand your business
  • Guide them through a vision of the future
  • Makes your job easier

Stories bring to life all the data and facts. Alone, each of these pieces of data can not get me to react. Together, however,  I can understand what’s going on by eliminating, modifying or creating a change. This connected understanding is what will captivate your audience, as well as reduce the amount of explaining and training required to use your dashboard. If your stories are not coherent, that might be a symptom of a lack of data or facts. Such disparities in data and facts can lead you to also understand your business as you build out your Tableau Dashboard.  By seeing what data is missing, you see what information you value that needs to be recorded and used in a story.

What is a Good Story?

  • A good story has roles, groups or characters.
  • Challenges are broken down.
  • Hurdles need to be obtainable.
  • Clear outcome foreshadowed.
story mode tableau

Presenting data doesn’t always mean a good story will come from it. Much like any good story teller, you need to understand who is listening to your story!  Explain their challenges and what needs to be done using the data – this is much more valuable. A good story has a character that they can compare themselves to, and the challenges presented by the data are simple and relate able enough so that the data clearly shows the answer to their problem.

Writing a good story dashboard is to first explore the data, and then determine what you want people to see with your data. Write a storyboard based on this, and walk through the dashboard to see if it makes sense. A flowing story is one that is personal and emotional – in a business, this might be related to emotions tied to money or pain points faced in the business. Always develop the data authentically and rooted in hard facts. Your audience will need to connect to you and understand your problems to make them your own. Next is to be visual; think like a movie producer… not an action flick but something along the lines of a National Geographic documentary. Present the issue and what problems it causes (with expert advice as to why this is a legitimate problem) and then provide a solution to the problem. The last point is to make the presentation interactive using parameters and other interactive pieces within your dashboard, which will give the “hands on” users the ability to understand their problems in their own way.

 5 easy tips to remember for a good story:

  • Figure out your story game plan (Storyboard).
  • Be clear and authentic.
  • Visual and Interactive.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Provide interaction and dialog.
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