#Data19Challenge | Contain(er) Your Excitement

I can’t believe its September 2020 already, one month away from the Virtual Tableau Conference October 6-8. It was 11 months ago that I challenged myself to watch 12 #Data19 Tableau Conference Sessions and write about them. To learn more, please visit my blog “What’s the #Data19 Challenge?“.

How am I doing meeting my challenge? To date, I’ve watched ten videos and wrote about seven sessions. The year 2020 has been a tough year for all of us with Covid19 changing our lives forever. I had to put blogging on the back burner for awhile. Life is finally at a point where I can start dedicating more time to education and personal goals.

This blog is a review of the Tableau Conference Session Contain(er) Your Excitement Dashboard Tips by Samantha Lin and Tom Christian. The word “container” caught my attention since there are so many ways to use containers on dashboards in Tableau. I thought the session would cover tips and tricks to understanding the item hierarchy features of Tableau Dashboards and it does to a certain extent. The heart of the content is demonstrations on how to use the Show/Hide Container feature that was released by Tableau in 2019.2 and its many purposes.

What is the Show/Hide Container? The Show/Hide Container hides floating containers on a dashboard allowing the user to toggle there appearance. It has many uses and is a clever way to allow more space for charts and other vital information while also providing a method for keeping relevant information available on the dashboard. Tom and Sam demonstrate the show/hide container feature to apply filter options as a menu button removing the clutter of the filters on a dashboard. In essence, the filters are hidden by a button on the dashboard but still available for the reader to use. The key takeaway when using this method is to make sure the button menu is discover-able to the reader.

Another useful method is applying an overlay of instructions to your dashboard that can be displayed with a click of a button. I found this demonstration to be particularly useful when you want to explain the various components of the dashboard to the reader. Tom provides a great example of this on his New Investment View Tableau Public Dashboard. He uses a Question Mark icon and when clicked on, an instruction page covers the dashboard.

Tom Christian Show Hide Button
Tom Christian New Investment View Show/Hide Button Example

This feature can also be used to explain how to read a chart like Jeff Plattner does on his Tableau Public SuperBowls dashboard. When the reader clicks on the How to Read button a new window opens showing the reader how to read the chart.

Have you ever heard of the light box effect? Its a term I wasn’t familiar with until this session. Its when a dark box is displayed behind a lighter box drawing the readers attention to something in the lighter box. Sam demonstrates that this technique can be applied using the show/hide button on a dashboard.

The show/hide container feature can also be used to open charts in full screen, display warning messages disabiling interactivity of the dashboard until the user clicks the button, and create custom chart filters with parameter actions.

summary of topics
Summary of Topics Covered

In summary, I thought this session was well executed. Sam and Tom demonstrate the steps for each use case and provide examples of where others in the #Datafam community have used Show/Hide Containers. I felt I learned a few new tips and tricks to enhance the user experience while interacting with the dashboards. Here is a link to my Productivity Dashboard example where I’ve applied this new technique for adding instructions on how to read the chart.

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