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In a world where data drives business decisions, great data visualization is crucial. Businesses today demand reporting dashboards that can assist with decision making and strategic planning.

Generating sleek and informative reports is not an easy task. They require careful balance between displaying a collection of information that provides real insight with having a simple, user-friendly dashboard design. To achieve this balance for my clients, I use parameters in Tableau. Dynamic visuals, strong aesthetics, and easy maintenance are just a few benefits of Tableau’s parameterized visuals.

Dynamic Visuals

Using parameters in Tableau dashboards allows end users to select a measure and level of granularity for a single visual using multiple data sets. For example, if a client requests both sales and profit values in a dashboard, there are several methods of accomplishing this.

One solution would be to create two visuals; one showing sales while the other shows profit. However, with parameters, you can have a single visual that includes both data sets with an option to choose whether to view sales or profits. We can take it a step further and provide the end user with the option to view the data for different time periods (weekly, monthly, yearly etc.).

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Aesthetics

In some cases, it can become overwhelming when a dashboard contains multiple visuals of the same type. Therefore, consolidating visuals into a dynamic visual greatly increases the aesthetics of the dashboard by providing white space and additional capacity for visuals of different types. With that, Tableau does a great job of presenting parameter values to the end user and provides several options that will fit the dashboard layout such as single value list, or a compact list, among others.

It is crucial to understand how data is visualized on the dashboard. Stakeholders will appreciate the strong, user-friendly design they can easily manipulate and modify reports from which they can gain valuable insights.

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Easy Maintenance

As business requirements change, so does the reporting dashboard. Dashboards that are dynamic, agile and can change at the pace of business are easier to maintain and update. Parameterized visuals assist with this. If an additional metric needs to be displayed in the same visual style, simply add data to the parameter values. Easily-maintained dashboards decrease my development time and may drive down time I bill to the client, since the hours required for dashboard revisions is lower compared to a less-dynamic setup.

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If you need more help, Tableau offers video tutorials explaining parameters and other Tableau concepts.

Are you using parameters in Tableau? Where have you seen the most value in doing so?

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Pavel Yarema

Pavel joined Piraeus Consulting as an Technical Support Associate in December of 2014 and is current a BI Development Consultant with Beyondsoft. He has experience developing BI solutions in a wide variety of business contexts using the full stack of Microsoft BI tools, and also specializes in other areas such as Tableau, PowerShell and Azure. Contact Pavel at pavel.yarema@us.beyondsoft.com

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