Power BI Makeover - A three step Process

From cluttered Visual to all-company update

When creating a Power BI report, it can be challenging to provide exactly the information the audience needs and wants to see. You may be tempted to include as much information as possible to ensure you provide enough information for everyone. While this may seem tempting, this can be very confusing for non-data experts.

Recently, a challenge was posted in the Storytelling with Data community, where a visual was provided which can be described as a great example of a cluttered and confusing visual. Since I love to makeover dashboards and visuals, I accepted the challenge. I created a new dashboard, conveying the same message as the visual but in a way that different audiences can understand it.

In this article, I guide you through the process I took during this Power BI makeover.

Before Power BI Makeover
Before - A cluttered visual with lots of information

Step 1 - What am I looking at & who is the audience​

Before diving right into visualizing the data, it is important to check the following:

  • What am I looking at?
    • Why does this visual look cluttered?
    • Which pieces of information do I see?

To effectively make changes to a visual you need to understand what you are looking at. In a real-world scenario, I would speak with the Power BI developer and the audience to better understand the initial requirements and expectations.

  • Who is the audience?
    • Who will be looking at the Power BI report?
    • What is the purpose of sharing the information?

This is important (and often skipped). You need to know who your audience is and what the purpose of the report is. Otherwise, you will need to make assumptions about the level of detail and complexity of visualization, which can end in disappointment.

Answering the questions for the makeover:

Who is the audience? The audience is the whole company since this is a company-wide update presented during the Q3 update and afterward sent in a newsletter to everyone in the company.

What is the purpose? This update aims to provide everyone with a broad overview of the company’s latest business expansion.

Which pieces of information do I see (and want to communicate)? Information about the business expansion, the business expansion forecast, and the number of account managers per account after training to increase performance.

Step 2 – Creating a gameplan

Now that I know who I am designing and what the purpose of the report is, I check a few things:

  • Do I need to make changes to the visual or do I need to create something new?
  • How do I want to show the information?

While analyzing the data, I realized that the visual provided shows three main topics:

  • Business expansion results – until now.
  • Training effect on accounts per account manager.
  • Business Forecast – when will we hit the target and how much do we expect tpo grow?

Realizing that the information can be divided into three topics, I decided not to put all the information in one visual but to show the information in 3 sections in the Power BI report. This way, it is possible to answer specific questions for each section. It also makes it easier for people to find the most interesting information to them, such as the effect of training for account managers.

Outline Template Makeover Power BI
I created a template, to get an idea about how I want to visualize the data

Step 3 - Creating the report (and visuals)

After you know who you are designing for, the purpose, and how you want to show the information, creating the visuals is a little easier.

My approach is to look at each topic I want to answer and then visualize the information that matches the subject. I decided a few things:

  • As the report is intended for the entire company, I added text information for individuals who prefer text over visual data representation. Additionally, screen readers can easily access this information for those with visual impairments.

  • I will provide KPIs for each topic to ensure that everyone can quickly see the most important information for each topic.

  • I will include more detailed information for those interested in more in-depth information for each visual.

Approaching a Power BI makeover this way, I take small steps that eventually add up to improved visualization and, in the end, an improved and easier-to-understand report.
Of course, there are always more options for a makeover, depending on your audience, their needs and wishes, and the information you want to provide. 

Want to try this yourself? You can find the original challenge and file here: Community Storytelling with Data.

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