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Art of BI: Building Better Dashboards with Storyboarding

Bill Anderson | | January 24, 2017


The use of storyboarding technique in the field of Business Intelligence (BI) and data analytics has emerged as a useful method for designing custom applications and reports that satisfy end users and data security protocols.

Datavail is pleased to announce the release of a new whitepaper that explains the use of storyboarding in the development of reports and dashboards for Oracle BI applications. This white paper, Storyboarding in Oracle Analytics: Giving Light to the End of the Requirements-Gathering Tunnel, which you can download here, illustrates how storyboarding leads to better dashboards and better decisions.

In development of an Oracle BI dashboard, it’s imperative that the design enables users to easily navigate the data in order to gain relevant insights. Dashboard storyboarding offers a great and effective method of communicating important information in a visually compelling format.

“Dashboards offer powerful visual reporting of data expressly designed to provide organizations with the insight needed for quick, intelligent decision-making,” writes Shadan Malik, President and CEO, iDashboards, in his article, How to Storyboard a BI Dashboard, for ebizQ. “However, to be effective, they must be properly built.”

Follow the outlined steps to effectively build a dashboard:

1)     Identify user groups

2)     Classify dashboard groups

3)     Create a dashboard layout

4)     Outline a navigation sequence

Identify User Groups

It’s important to establish key user groups in order to determine who is going to utilize the dashboard within an organization and at which user level. This enables you to set the stage for each user group and segment their varying information needs accordingly. This is vital as it sets the stage for dashboard users. Once established, members of these teams can help you identify their high-level information needs.

“Storyboarding helps one understand how the various unit-parts work together to create the whole technical communications project or report. Once they have been defined and grouped together, you can utilize the storyboarding process to focus on the types of visualizations that work best to consume the information.” — Datavail white paper, Storyboarding in Oracle Analytics: Giving Light to the End of the Requirements-Gathering Tunnel

Classify Dashboard Groups

Classifying dashboard groups helps ensure that all the necessary metrics and subject areas are properly identified. Additionally, sufficient consideration of the user groupings should be made on intuitive and easy-to-use dashboards.

Create a Dashboard Layout

A well-designed dashboard is able to display more information within a limited amount of space. In order to come up with a good dashboard layout, one needs to select applicable data visualization objects for each metric and data type, in order to harmonize all the information appearing on the same dashboard.

Proper use of colors and contrasts not only impacts the aesthetics of the dashboard, but also increases its overall effectiveness. The use of a consistent dashboard template speeds up adoption and helps users to quickly process information.

Outline a Navigation Sequence

Creating a navigation sequence involves determining how to link charts, dashboards, and reports to enable users to drill down for greater detail. Establishing a specific and well-thought-out navigation sequence when first creating a dashboard ensures that users can easily access information in a logical way. This step is a critical element for the success of a dashboard, as it will dictate the ways in which users will view and manipulate the data.

To learn more about storyboarding and how to build better dashboards, please download Datavail’s white paper, Storyboarding in Oracle Analytics: Giving Light to the End of the Requirements-Gathering Tunnel, or contact Datavail today.

With more than 600 database administrators worldwide, Datavail is the largest database services provider in North America. As a reliable provider of 24×7 managed services for applications, BI/Analytics, and databases, Datavail can support your organization, regardless of the build you’ve selected.


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