Video Transcript

Hello everyone, welcome to This Not That, or TNT. This is a Vlog where we take a best practice and we contrast it with a common mistake that we see in the BI (business intelligence) industry. Today we’re going be talking about the design canvas and a simple trick that will make your life a little bit easier.

When you’re designing the visual piece of the BI process which typically happens in the 3rd and 4th stages where we get into analysis and visualization. Usually you’re going to want to apply Gestalt design principles: take the elements on the page and group them together one can easily see they belong together. It’s a simple way to let the brain know what’s going on.

I’ve discovered it can be kind of a pain to try and put a shape, say a box, behind each of the elements. Those objects are clickable so if someone accidentally misses the chart that they want to click on and clicks on that background shape, it can pop up in front, and look messy. So what I’m presenting today as a very simple way to get around that issue by using a single background, not individual shapes.

You have the ability on your report canvas to place a background image that is not interactive. Meaning, you can’t click it, you can’t do anything to it, it just exists. When you do that and place the image on top of it, it makes it so the only object of interaction is the charts and visuals themselves. Which is what you want. Because that’s where you want people to be going and interacting with things.

If you don’t do this, what I have found is that you’ve got 10 or 12 colored boxes or outlines around things. The first problem with this is it can take a tiny bit of computational power to bring up those additional elements every time the report is opened. Secondly, because these shapes are interactive, you’re going to end up with someone covering up the chart on accident because they missed, by a pixel or two, right on the edge of the chart, and clicked on the object behind it instead.

The solution to this is simple, there’s a place in your tool where you can set up a background image and avoid the problems that come from trying to use individual shapes. Hopefully this will save you and your end users just a little bit of time and make your visuals more impactful.

If you enjoyed the content today, by all means leave a comment, let us know your thoughts. And if you have a best practice that you think needs to get out into the public, let us know. We would love to hear from you. You can follow us on social media or head to our website to learn more.