Bananas are in 'Trouble' - Use Sparklines not Dials on your Tableau
Management by exception is an often used concept
but it has limitations. The exception is triggered but is it too late? The manager has no easy
way to see what is really going on before it is too late. A sparkline is a possible
Sparklines are a neat way of representing a lot
of data in a small area. It is better use of space on dashboards. People love dials or gages on
dashboards but they only show the position at this point in time. The Manager can clearly see
the trends and take action long before the trouble occurs using sparklines.
Here is an example below.
The left-hand side shows the sparklines for
various fruit sales. As the line moves above the
target it turns green and below turns red. The right -hand plot shows the cumulative position
for this year. As you can see bananas are in trouble!
As you can see bananas are in trouble as sales
are dropping. As it goes below target the sparkline turns red.
The termsparkline was proposed byEdward Tufte for "small,
high resolution graphics embedded in a context of words, numbers, images".
Sparklines are intended to
be succinct, memorable.
You can cram a lot of vital information into a
very small space and yet it is legible and you can see the trends easily.
Here is a video on how to construct a
simple Sparkline dashboard from an Excel spreadsheet.