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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #1 

I have been tasked with re-engineering a suite of reports originally put together in Excel for our new data warehouse/report server. This is an illustration of one of the worksheets:

* Example not to be used elsewhere *

The report is about employee completion (or non-completion) of a mandated learning objective, which is essentially a course that the employee is automatically enrolled on.

There are two things that bother me about this report, as per illustration:

The chart and supporting table are mismatched. The table contains a time element, whilst the chart does not.

The other is the decision to select a column bar chart with the values expressed as a percentage, with a target line of 100% at the top.

Is there a better way of representing the current percentage values by geography with the target?


Posts: 852
Reply with quote  #2 
I'll make a few quick and simple suggestions:

  1. Rather than displaying the monthly values in a table, or in a table only, add a line graph to make the patterns of change easy to see and compare. Use a different color for each line and use those same colors in the bar graph as well to connect the regions visually.
  2. The bar graph seems fine as a way of showing the current status. If you would like to emphasize the degree to which each region has missed the target of 100%, however, you might want to express the difference from the target (e.g., the non-completion of -3% for China) rather than the completion percentage.

Stephen Few

Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #3 
This has been subsequently updated with an on-line version accessed via a portal rather than an excel spreadsheet...

* Not be used elsewhere
WBTC.jpg      ...the report focuses on completion (rather than non-completion) of a number of modules that form part of a mandated product awareness program for certain employees in the organisation prior to product launch.

I have made a number of improvements using Tableau (because it's quick) with some dummy data, although I would still consider myself something of a novice using the software.

Any thoughts and comments greatly appreciated.



Posts: 192
Reply with quote  #4 
Bullet graphs designed in a table like layout are more efficient if they share the same performance intervals and/or targets (easier to compare). I can only guess this is the case for percent completion rather than value completion. Use simple bars for completion values and a bullet chart for percent completion values. 

Use the colors for highlighting the values which require more attention (lowest values) and drop arbitrary colors used for modules. A simple title "Module X" above each chart is better.

Most of the tools these days provide a "smart" guess of displaying available data. I find this useful only during the learning process. I personally sketch my design first, than I see if the available tool can be used for my purpose. 
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