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Periscope Data’s Text on Dashboards

Data is a powerful storyteller. Periscope Data’s dashboards can combine a wide range of charts to tell a convincing story with data and drive important decisions. But there’s more to data storytelling than just creating and arranging charts into dashboards. Sometimes the best way to share information in a dashboard is the old-fashioned way — words.

Periscope Data’s Text on Dashboards feature is an easy way to strengthen the message of your dashboards and make information easier for your colleagues to understand. It’s a simple shortcut for chart creators to increase the usability and shareability of charts. Using our simple What You See Is What You Get editor, chart creators can add text anywhere in a dashboard and modify it with standard modifications (change font size, alignment, bold/italic/underline, color, bullets, etc.) to fit any style.

Your team can brainstorm about the best ways to add text to the dashboards you create, but here are some suggestions from the Periscope Data team:

  • Summarize sections with headers — charts can have titles, but sometimes there are multiple charts next to each other that show related phenomena or answer a specific question. In that case, a broader section header would make it clear that those charts are related to each other and can work together to tell a bigger story or answer a broader question. These headers might also make it easier for a consumer to pinpoint specific information in a large, complicated dashboard. They can be used to organize charts in a way that adds context that might otherwise be missed.
  • Define metrics — your charts will all have labels that tell chart consumers what they’re seeing, but sometimes more clarity about those labels is necessary. For example, consider a chart that displayed revenue from new customers vs. legacy customers. It’s crucial to the overall takeaway of that chart to clarify how long a customer is considered “new” before they become “legacy.” Without that clarification on the chart, consumers might just make assumptions and draw very different conclusions from the same information.
  • Annotate important takeaways — The first two suggestions were tips for chart creators to provide a clearer picture to chart consumers, but sometimes it’s easier to forego the gentle nudging and spell out important insights. As data analysts create charts, they’re studying data and will certainly find some important takeaways that they need to make sure are not lost in the consumption of that dashboard. When they find vital information to highlight like this, they can make a note in the dashboard to make sure that insight is preserved after it is shared. It’s an easy way to give colleagues a CliffsNotes version of the research instead of making them read the book all over again.

Below is a quick look into how the tool works. As you watch it, keep our suggestions in mind and imagine how a tool like this could impact a project or a dashboard you’ve worked on.

If you’re interested in building dashboards in Periscope Data, set up a free trial. You can connect your data and start building charts (with text on them) in no time.


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Victor Black
Victor Black is a product manager at Periscope Data. You can usually find him obsessing over the latest data driven way to become more data driven.