Skip to content

Superhero Analytics: How to format your Tableau Dashboard in Four Steps

Published by Concentra

Discover analytics solutions from Concentra


Concentra’s analytics and business intelligence teams turn information into insight to give you the edge from your data. Learn more.

Tableau is all about easy to produce, aesthetically pleasing visuals, but there can be a vast difference between visualisations created with or without formatting best practices – as the latter often lacks a certain finesse. This blog will show the four stages of building a Tableau dashboard and what to consider in each of them in order to deliver a polished visualisation.

My starting point is the dashboard below, showing information on superheroes in New York. We can all agree it could be better… a lot better. There is no consistency across the dashboard, no contrast in the colours used, and no indication as to what it’s all about or what it is trying to answer. There must be a better way to show the same data in a clearer and “prettier” fashion. If we follow these top tips, we can do exactly that.

Tableau Dashboard Superheroes New York

Figure 1 – Superheroes in New York Original Dashboard

1. Before the Dashboard

Many of the best practices come even before the dashboard is produced, by improving each sheet to display the data in a more user-friendly way.

Bar Chart Tableau

FIGURE 2 – BEFORE AND AFTER FOR THE “offender” GRAPH

The same stacked bar chart can be applied to make the “Occurrence Day” graph clearer, avoiding the hard-to-read area chart.

area vs bar chart Tableau

Figure 3 – Before and After for the “Occurrence Day” graph

Get Rid of Clutter Tableau

Figure 4 – Removing unnecessary labels

Additional things to consider: 

The dashboard so far:

SUPERHEROES IN NEW YORK DASHBOARD in progress

FIGURE 5 – SUPERHEROES IN NEW YORK DASHBOARD in progress Phase 1

2. The Dashboard

Now that we’ve sorted out our sheets, we can start arranging our dashboard. There are multiple things to consider when designing a dashboard’s layout:

Crime in Comic Books Dashboard Tableau

FIGURE 6 – SUPERHEROES IN NEW YORK DASHBOARD IN PROGRESS phase 2

3. After the Dashboard

Now that we have a “presentable” dashboard it’s time to move into the real personalisation stage, where we can add some “flair”.

With all the above things considered we have now a great looking dashboard as shown below.

/sites/default/files/uploads/crime_in_comic_books_dashboard_tableau

FIGURE 7 – SUPERHEROES IN NEW YORK DASHBOARD IN PROGRESS PHASE 3

Dashboard Checklist:

4. Extras

Below you can see the finished dashboard:

Discover analytics solutions from Concentra


Concentra’s analytics and business intelligence teams turn information into insight to give you the edge from your data. Learn more.